Grades PreK - 1
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.
Grades 2 - 4
Focused on building an interest in science and engineering in children ages 6-10, students work with LEGO elements and moving parts to build ideas and concepts and present them for review.
Grades 4 - 8
Introduces young people, ages 9 to 14 to the fun and excitement of science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge, and valuable employment and life skills.
Grades 7 - 12
A widely-accessible robotics program designed to inspire students to explore and pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in grades 7 through 12.
Grades 9 - 12
A unique varsity Sport for the MindTM designed to help high-school-aged young people discover how interesting and rewarding the lives of engineers and scientists can be.
FIRST Illinois Robotics is an educational non-profit under Internal Revenue Service section 501(c) (3) IRS EIN 20-0707641
Inscite Illinois DBA FIRST Illinois Robotics manages and distributes over $500,000 each year.
Our programs vary by age and challenge so that learning never stops building upon itself. Starting at age 6 and continuing through middle and high-school levels up to age 18, young people can participate at any level. The 5 programs aim to increase the number and excellence of youth going into scientific and technical pursuits, for which there is great demand both nationally and globally. The 5 programs also seek to encourage broad participation in science and technology, particularly from groups, such as women, that are underrepresented in those fields.
Our mission is to advance innovative programs that provide an environment where students, educators, professionals, and the technical community come together to cultivate lifelong learning in science, technology, engineering and math. We engage students throughout the state of Illinois with exciting, competition-based technology programs. We provide an environment where students, educators, professionals, and the technical community come together to cultivate lifelong learning in science, technology, engineering and math. We prepare young people for tomorrow's workplace by developing their creativity, teamwork, communication skills, gracious professionalism, and self-confidence.
Our mission is to engage students throughout the state of Illinois with exciting, competition-based technology programs. We provide an environment where students, educators, professionals, and the technical community come together to cultivate lifelong learning in science, technology, engineering and math. We prepare young people for tomorrow's workplace by developing their creativity, teamwork, communication skills, gracious professionalism, and self-confidence.
In order to compete for the jobs of the future, it's essential for every kid to have access to STEM education. We need kids to see the world of possibilities waiting for them. Like over 4 million jobs in science and tech, for starters. Not just for their benefit, but because the world needs them — their brains, their creativity and their experiences — to create amazing solutions that will make our world a better place.
FIRST Illinois Robotics had its origins when Inscite Illinois was formed in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to operate the FIRST LEGO League program in Illinois. In 2013, the organization consolidated the operation of all four FIRST programs in Illinois into the one not-for-profit entity rather than have separate groups of volunteers coordinate each program in Illinois. The organization's name was changed to FIRST Illinois Robotics, with approval by the State of Illinois and the Internal Revenue Service, in 2015 to better align the organization name to its mission. Programs in the FIRST portfolio include: FIRST LEGO League Discover (k-1) FIRST Lego League Explore (2-4), FIRST LEGO League Challlenge (4-8), FIRST Tech Challenge (7-12), and FIRST Robotics Competition (9-12).
FIRST Illinois Robotics uses robots as the vehicle to bring Science, Technology,Engineering and Math (STEM)-based leadership enrichment programs andcompetitions to youth in Illinois. FIRST's Progression of Programs consists of five programs -FIRST LEGO League Discover (FLL Discover) ,FIRST LEGO League Explore (FLL Explore), FIRST LEGO League Challenge (FLL Challenge), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).
The programs vary by age and challenge so that learning never stops building upon itself. Starting at age 6 and continuing through middle and high-school levels up to age 18, young people can participate at any level.
FIRST Illinois Robotics is a huge undertaking which not only impacts and involves youth, but also parents, coaches and mentors, community and school organizations, volunteers, and our sponsors. FIRST Illinois Robotics in Illinois held over 100 different events involving nearly 2000 individual volunteers and had over 7000 young people involved in our 4 programs. Our FIRST Illinois Robotics students are young, smart, and resilient. They pursue post-secondary education and careers in STEM-related fields and industries. Study data (see infographic) show that FIRST is making a lasting difference in career interests and educational choices for the young people who participate in the program. (FIRST Longitudinal Study: Findings at 48 Month Follow-Up Year 5 Report )
FIRST Illinois Robotics celebrates STEM the same way we do sports or entertainment. We show today’s youth that learning is not just important, but is also fun and exciting, and help them grow a lifelong love of problem-solving, teamwork, and innovation.
Our team members experience gains in STEM and workforce skills, as well as increased interest in STEM-related college majors and careers. FIRST’s impacts are particularly strong for female participants as well as for members of other underrepresented groups.
FIRST levels the playing field for disenfranchised communities and students, giving young people the chance to develop lifelong problem-solving and team-building skills, as well as STEM skills in engineering and coding. Study data shows that FIRST is making a lasting difference in career interests and educational choices for the young people who participate in the program.
"Lack of access to STEM opportunities outside of school leaves students from low-income communities with 6,000 fewer enrichment hours compared to their middle-class peers," said Joshua Blassingame of YouthLink. For example, a typical FIRST Tech Challenge Program meets for 8 hours a week for 5 months- with events that is almost 200 hours of "STEM" per year/student. The average team has 8 members (team can have up to 15). Collectively each FTC team is providing nearly 1600 hours of STEM engagement per year. These positive, engaging experiences that promote STEM skills and self-confidence are even more vital to students in communities that face these challenges. A program like FIRST Tech Challenge can be their gateway to growing critical skills and a passion for lifelong learning.
Bringing in FIRST programs doesn’t just positively impact students. Teachers also gain skills, confidence, and learning tools that they might not otherwise have had. High-quality STEM learning and engagement opportunities like the FIRST Tech Challenge can be a game-changer for young people in disenfranchised communities who might otherwise not have access to pathways to the fast-growing STEM economy. We need your support .
Building skills: STEM education and FIRST Robotics programs provide kids with hands-on experience in problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork. These skills are essential for success in any field, and they can help kids excel academically and professionally. Boosting confidence: Participating in STEM programs can boost kids' confidence by showing them that they are capable of solving complex problems and completing challenging tasks. This can help them develop a growth mindset, which can serve them well in all aspects of life.
Expanding opportunities: STEM careers are in high demand, and they are expected to grow in the coming years. By participating in STEM education and FIRST Robotics programs, kids can gain exposure to these fields and explore potential career paths they might not have considered otherwise. Fostering diversity and inclusion: The FIRST Robotics programs are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. By bringing together students from diverse backgrounds and providing them with equal opportunities to learn and succeed, these programs help break down barriers and promote greater equity in STEM.
Overall, STEM education and FIRST Robotics programs have the potential to change the trajectory of Illinois kids' lives by providing them with the skills, confidence, and opportunities they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.
They still know how to bring the fun and passion to robotics. All their hard work not only shapes the future of FIRST and High School robotics, but it shapes the world. These students are the next tech leaders and the next leaders all fields. FIRST supports a space that is friendly, safe, challenging, rewarding, memorable, and life changing. These students will be more likely to be life long learners and have the skills andconfidence to solve the world’s greatest challenges.
I have been working with FIRST for over 15 years. In all honesty, I started because I was having fun watching what kids could do with the technology I have been working with for decades. Somewhere along the line, it got to be much more than that. I was shaping the lives of future technologists like myself. I was creating a world where STEM employees are not scorned, where technology is considered exciting, where the problems of the future could be handled by the next generation, a world where people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Woody Flowers, and Dean Kamen are heroes and heroes in ways that everybody can be heroes.
The people who operate FIRST Illinois Robotics are passionate about their mission, and about providing an experience for the students that is on par with other sporting and competitive events. FIRST Robotics is not a silly pass-time or hobby, but a serious game with rules and conduct requirements that demand attention. And yet, it is still one of the most fun and engaging experiences out there for everyone involved.