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Educates young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programmes

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a robotics community that educates young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programmes for ages 4-18 (PreK-12), which can be conducted in school or in structured afterschool programmes.

Teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and demonstrate their achievements during annual challenges, with the help of a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that includes over 200 Fortune 500 firms.

FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning

An international not-for-profit organisation (501(c)(3)) founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programmes gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers.

FIRST Core Values

Our dedication to establishing, cultivating, and sustaining a culture of fairness, diversity, and inclusiveness is reflected in the FIRST Core Values, which promote friendly sportsmanship, respect for others’ contributions, cooperation, learning, and community involvement.

The FIRST Community embodies the Gracious Professionalism and Transparency ideals of FIRST.

Cooperation through our Core Values :

Discovery : We explore new skills and ideas.

Innovation : We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.

Impact : We apply what we learn to improve our world.

Inclusion : We respect each other and embrace our differences.

Teamwork : We are stronger when we work together.

Fun : We enjoy and celebrate what we do!


The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.


“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” Dean Kamen, Founder

Methodology Involve PreK-12 (ages 4-18) kids in engaging, mentor-based research and robotics programmes that will help them become scientific and technology leaders and well-rounded members of society.

Hands-on learning, working as a team on real-life challenges, exposure to careers and adult mentors, focus on FIRST Core Values, and a concluding celebration where students can demonstrate what they produced and learned are all tactics that have been shown to enhance student interest in STEM.

Participants in FIRST also learn cooperation, problem-solving, and communication skills, which will help them succeed in school and in the workforce, regardless of their career path.

For children ages 4-6, this playful introductory STEM program ignites their natural curiosity and builds their habits of learning with hands-on activities in the classroom and at home using LEGO Duplo bricks.

In Explore, teams of students ages 6-10 focus on the fundamentals of engineering as they explore real-world problems, learn to design and code and create unique solutions made with LEGO bricks and powered by LEGO Education We Do 2.0.

Teams of kids ages 9-16 participate in research, problem-solving, coding, and engineering while building and programming a LEGO robot that navigates the tasks of a robot game in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge – Grades 4-8.

Teams also participate in a research project to identify and address a relevant real-world problem as part of the Challenge.


Dean Kamen is a prolific inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST. For over 30 years, Kamen has resolutely led the growth of FIRST to where it is now universally recognized as the leading, not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide.

Gracious Professionalism

Dr. Woodie Flowers, EAB Chair Emeritus & Distinguished Advisor (1943-2019), invented the term “Gracious Professionalism,” which is part of the FIRST ethos. It’s a way of life that promotes high-quality work, emphasizes the importance of others, and values individuals and the community.

  • Gracious Professionalism does not distinguish between harsh rivalry and mutual benefit.

  • Professionals who are gracious treat one another with respect and courtesy while learning and competing.

  • They make a point of not treating anyone as a loser.

  • There will be no chest-thumping strong rhetoric, but there will also be no sticky-sweet platitudes.

  • Coopertition is based on the idea and attitude that even when competing, teams may and should support and cooperate with one another.

  • Cooperation entails gaining knowledge from teammates.

  • It is for the purpose of instructing teammates.

  • It is the process of learning from mentors.

  • It’s also about managing and being managed.

  • Coopertition entails always competing, but also supporting and enabling others wherever possible.

As part of our ongoing efforts to inspire children to explore science and technology, FIRST is honoured to receive the following unique honours.

  • Industry : Non-profit Organization Management

  • Company size : 51-200 employees

  • Headquarters : Manchester, NH

  • Type : Nonprofit

  • Founded : 1989

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