FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge


Visit the Official FTC Site (Registration links, challenge info, and more)


FTC is designed for students, grades 9-12, who want to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams of up to 10 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

Students get to:

  • Design, build, and program robots
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills
  • Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
  • Earn a place in the World Championship
  • Qualify for nearly $9.7 million in college scholarships

Most teams in Alaska meet as part of a high school class or an afterschool club anywhere from 2 times per week to everyday. The season starts with kick offs hosted by teams around the state on the day of the global challenge release. Teams learn about the game for the current season. Teams then have a few months to get ready for competition. Some communities will host many scrimmages and mini-meets throughout the season, while some teams will just work towards a regional competition. Official Qualifier Tournaments in Alaska are usually held in December through February, leading into a State Championship in February/March. Teams selected during the State Championship will move on to a Super Regional for the Western Region where teams will then be able to qualify for the FIRST  World Championship held each April.

In addition to buiding and programming their robot, each team is expected to do a lot of community outreach. This includes reaching out to younger students (coaching FLL & Jr.FLL teams, hosting tournaments & workshops), engaging with engineers in and beyond their community, and getting involved in other community events (school assemblies, community events, state fair, etc). 


ESSENTIALS

WHO

  • FTC Teams are 3-10 kids ranging from advance middle school students to high school age.
  • Teams form in schools, clubs, and neighborhood groups. No requirements on affiliation.
  • Teams need at least 1 adult coach/mentor. Two are recommended.

WHEN

  • Most teams form up in late spring or early September.
  • Registration opens in late spring and remains open through the fall. 
  • The challenge is released and kick off events are held in early September.
  • Official Regional Qualifer Competitions happen all over the state from December through February. Schools are encouraged to host regular scrimmages throughout the season to help prepare for the qualifiers, but we realize that this is not possible for most areas in the state.
  • 40 teams will advance from the official qualifiers to the state championship usually held in late February or early March, hosted by the University of Alaska, alternating between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
  • Top teams from the State Championship will advance to the Western Super Regional in Washington. Teams will then advance from the Super Regional to the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, MO in April. 

WHERE

  • There are teams in most areas of the state including remote villages.
  • Many teams meet in school classrooms as an after school club. Basements, garages, and just about any other place works great too.

COST

  • FTC can be fairly inexpensive, though some programs around the country invest heavily in their programs. We recommend that a team has at least $2,000 for their rookie season.
  • Here is a sample budget that shows what kinds of expenses teams can expect:
    FTC Registration $275
    Samantha Module $85
    LEGO Mindstorms NXT $265
    Event Registrations $50-$200
    Kit of Parts (multiple options) ~ $600
    Travel depends on location
    Team apparel, buttons, handouts.. $0 - $150
    Additioanl parts - sensors, motors, etc $500
  • Teams are funded by schools, parent-teacher organizations, parents, or other sources of funds. Some find corporate sponsors.