What is FIRST?
FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” The goal of FIRST is to inspire today’s students to become the world’s next scientists, engineers, and technical leaders. FIRST does this by bring aspiring students together to compete in robotics competitions in an environment where communication, teamwork, and leadership are key for success. With the slogan “more than robots,” FIRST encourages not only technical pursuits, but teaches business, communication, volunteerism, and leadership.
Who does FIRST impact?
While FRC is for high school students, FIRST offers the following programs for all age groups.
- Junior FIRST Lego League: Ages 6-9
- FIRST Lego League: Ages 9-14
- FIRST Tech Challenge: Ages 12-18
- FIRST Robotics Competition: Ages 14-18
How is Peachtree Ridge Robotics involved with FIRST?
The Robo Lions have competed in FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) as team 1261 since 2004, when the team was founded. In this time, we have won 5 regionals as well as a number of other awards. In addition to FRC the team mentors FLL teams in elementary and middle schools around our school cluster. The team also attempts to spread the message of FIRST by hosting STEM nights at an elementary school level, and participating in events around the community such as parades and football games.
What is FRC?
FRC stands for FIRST Robotics Competition. It is a robotics competition for high school age students that aims to promote communication, leadership and teamwork. The Peachtree Ridge Robo Lions compete as FRC team 1261, and have done so since our beginnings in 2004.
How does it work?
The competition starts in January with the FRC kickoff, a huge live broadcast in which the game is released to the entire world at the same time. Teams are introduced to a game that they will have to play and the objectives and scoring values are introduced. From this point forward, teams have 6 weeks to design, build, program, and test their robot for competition. At the conclusion of these six weeks, teams must bag up their robots and cannot touch them until their competitions. After individual competitions, the most successful teams are chosen to compete at the FRC Championships in St. Louis, an unforgettable experience for every student who has the privilege of attending.
Building the Robot
The six week build season during which teams have to complete their robot is rigorous and challenging. For the first few days, the teams discuss strategy and possible robot design. From there, prototyping begins, and after the first few weeks, actual robot build begins. The aim of most teams is to complete the robot before the end of the six weeks, so they have time to adequately test the robot. The build season is intense: students work almost every day – not simply just after school, but on the weekends as well. Enormous amounts of effort and resources are put into creating the best robot possible.
2016 will be Georgia’s first season on the district system in FRC. This means that there will be four different district competitions in the “Peachtree District.” In 2016, these events will be held in Columbus, Albany, Dalton, and Kennesaw. Teams will have the option to compete at as many of these competitions as they wish, but during their first two events, points will be awarded for various accomplishments. These points will be totaled for each team after all have competed, and the top teams will be invited to compete at the state competition in Athens. The teams that are most successful at the state will qualify to compete at World Championships in St. Louis.
At individual competitions, teams will load in their “pit” on the first day of competition. The pit serves as a home base for the team, where their robot and all their tools are throughout the competition. The teams spend the first day competing in qualification matches, where they play on randomly assigned teams or alliances of 3 robots and score points. Based on individual teams’ performances, rankings are determined, and halfway through the last day of competition, alliance selection takes place. This is when the top 8 ranked teams according to the latest scores are each allowed to choose two more teams’ robots to compete with them during the elimination matches. During eliminations, the top 8 compete in quarterfinals. After quarterfinals, the new top 4 compete in semifinals, and then the top two teams face off in finals to determine who will be the winner.
Because a large part of success in competitions is based on the alliances that are selected before eliminations, scouting, or researching and building relationships with other teams is extremely important. The Robo Lions’ scouting team consists of two parts: a pit scouting team and a stand scouting team. The pit scouting team talks to individual teams about their robots and seek to build relationships with other teams at a competition. The stand scouting team uses an app designed by our team to watch matches and record gameplay, in hopes of analyzing the data to find teams whose strategy is compatible with our own. Our scouting team also analyzes existing information about teams before each competition. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any scouting inquiries.
What is Georgia FIRST?
A branch of FIRST with a “Georgia first” mindset that leads students to pursue science and technology for their college degree and career. They promote FIRST’s values of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through the FIRST Lego League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in Georgia.