Teachers, parents, and technology professionals all make excellent coaches. The coach must be 18 years or older and should have the desire to explore side-by-side with students and have good communication, prioritizing, and multitasking skills. The coach’s role is to facilitate instruction and optimize the learning experience of the team members by allowing independent thought. Direct adult involvement or intervention during the problem-solving process is strongly discouraged.
Coaches handle all the operational details: where and when to meet, organizing help for snacks, team costumes, etc. Coaches do not need technical expertise, but must be willing to acquire some basic knowledge of the program.
How do you join an existing team?
If your school or organization has a FIRST® Tech Challenge team, approach the coach and see if there is room for another student and if the deadline has passed.
If your child’s school or organization does not have FIRST® Tech Challenge team, you may want to work with a teacher or administer to help form a team within the school.
How long is the season?
The FIRST® Tech Challenge season kicks off in September, the competition season begins in November and can last throughout April depending how much your team advances.
I can’t find a team near me. Can I start one?
Absolutely, the easiest way to join a FIRST® Tech Challenge program is to start your own team. Ask your principal if your school has a team; if not, encourage your principal to identify a teacher who would be willing to start a team with your help as a team volunteer. Please let your principal know that FIRST® is a collaborative partnership with private industry professionals and educators to inspire young people towards STEM.
If a school-based team is not a possibility, you may find another youth-focused organization that can help. Scouts, 4-H and other clubs may also support FIRST® teams.
What are the minimum requirements for a FIRST® Tech Challenge team?
What does every FIRST® Tech Challenge team need?
– Two or more adult Mentors who are willing and motivated to coach the team through the build and competition season, and beyond!
– Other adults can volunteer to help with administration, fundraising, community outreach, technical advising, and other tasks.
– A suitable meeting place and space to design and build a robot about the size of a microwave oven.
– A standard kit of robot parts and a common set of game and robot rules issued by FIRST® Tech Challenge.
– A budget and a fundraising plan.
The desire to learn, explore, strategize, build camaraderie, share ideas and talents, make new friends, be accepted, and HAVE FUN!