The new challenge is released to teams at kickoff in January, which starts the build season that runs through late February. Competition season starts late February and lasts through April, depending on how far your team advances.
What is the time commitment for coaches, volunteers, and team members?
As a Mentor or adult Volunteer, you should be meeting with your team at least several times per week during the build and competition season (January – April). Many mature teams also meet throughout the school year, and some compete in off-season events during the summer. You, your family, and your available free time can decide together how much time you can devote to the program.
Who can coach a FIRST® Robotics Competition team?
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.
Who can mentor a FIRST® Tech Challenge team?
Mentors are individuals from all backgrounds and disciplines who work with students to share their knowledge and guide them through the season. Many Mentors contribute on a weekly basis during the program season, or support the team with subject matter expertise on an as needed basis. Teams may have additional or more specialized roles or combine roles as needed.
Who can start a FIRST® Tech Challenge team?
Anyone with an interest in changing lives through STEM can start a team – educators, parents, anyone with the time and motivation. Most teams in Washington are school-based. Others are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, homeschool groups, religious organizations, and even neighborhood groups of friends. If you want to start a school-based team, contact a teacher or administrator to get started.