What kind of training resources are needed for FIRST® Tech Challenge coaches and mentors?
How are teams judged at competitions and what awards are there for FIRST® Tech Challenge teams participating?
At FIRST® Tech Challenge tournaments, there are three parts to the judging process:
1) interview with judges;
2) evaluation of performance during the tournament
3) evaluation of the engineering notebook.
Each team will have a ten to fifteen minute “fact-finding” interview with a panel of two or three judges. At the start of the interview, students will get a minimum of 5 minutes to present to the judges. After the Team’s five-minute presentation, the Judges will have the opportunity to ask questions about the Team, the Robot, outreach efforts, etc.
The judges’ interviews take place before any Qualification Matches so the entire team may be interviewed. When teams arrive at the tournament, the interview schedule should be included in the registration materials. Teams must know when they will be interviewed and arrive to the interview room early. Each team should have at least two student team representatives and the robot available; the entire team is encouraged to join
in. Mentors (no more than two) are welcome to watch the Judges’ Interview at most tournaments but cannot take part in the interview.
Teams may not opt out of judges’ interviews. Teams may attend
their scheduled judges’ interviews if their robots have not passed inspection.
Here are additional resources for FTC Tournament judging.
When does FIRST® Tech Challenge happen?
Each September FIRST®, our parent organization headquartered in New Hampshire, provides teams across the globe with a new challenge that focuses on real-world issues that scientists and engineers are facing today. Students work together to design, build, and program their robots, preparing for the competition season that begins around November. Competition season can last through May or April depending on how far the team advances.
How can I find a team to join?
Washington State has between 100 and 200 FIRST® Tech Challenge teams each year. Teams are formed in schools, community organizations, and neighborhoods. They can be formed by any interested adult willing to facilitate the team logistics.
Within Washington, many FIRST® Tech Challenge teams are formed through schools, so the first place to look for opportunities to join a team is with your child’s school. Generally, the school-based teams are open only to students attending that institution because interest often exceeds capacity. If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.
Other Washington teams are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Boys & Girls Clubs. Generally, this is only one of many activities that the organization facilitates for its members, but if your child is interested in one of these organizations overall, this might be an avenue to pursue in your local area.
The remaining teams in Washington are formed through homeschool groups, religious organizations or neighborhood groups of friends. While these groups are not specifically closed to other students, they do not usually engage in recruiting members.
Since finding an opportunity with an existing team may be difficult, many experienced coaches and parents advise families new to the program to start their own team. The benefits to your child and for those who have an opportunity to participate are well worth the effort. If you need additional resources or encouragement, contact us at FIRST® Washington.
Search for teams near you.
Where can I find more resources for this years challenge?