Start a FIRST Tech Challenge Team

FIRST Tech Challenge gives middle and high school students and their adult mentors the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem. Teams are challenged to design and build a robot using a kit of parts and within a common set of rules to play a sophisticated field game. The robot game changes every season and is a blast!

FIRST redefines winning by rewarding teams for achievements both on and off the field − excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, Gracious Professionalism™, and outreach efforts are some of the award criteria. Winning is always secondary to the quality of the overall experience.


7 Essential steps to starting a FIRST Tech Challenge team:

1. Gather support resources

Familiarize yourself with FIRST Tech Challenge by checking out the materials on our website and social media pages. Then locate your region’s Affiliate Partner or FIRST Senior Mentor. These people know the FIRST teams, participating schools, and FIRST-friendly businesses in your area. He or she can help you form a plan for getting your team funded, organized, and in touch with other teams in the area.

2. Enlist Coaches & Mentors

Each team needs 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, and other tasks.

3. Register and Pay

Once registered, your team becomes a part of the worldwide FIRST Tech Challenge community. You’ll begin receiving communications from FIRST, along with a temporary team number in preparation for event registration in the fall. Part of the registration process include ordering the kit of parts and completing payment. (Please note that, until you click submit, you are not committed to becoming a team.)

4. Build your team

Find and invite at least 3 students (maximum 15) who want to be part of a robotics team. Be sure to emphasize that no technical skills are required, just enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Recruit all kinds of talents, not just engineering and electrical.

5. Fundraising

Your team will need to build a budget and fund their goals. Recruit local businesses to sponsor you. Many of them may already have a relationship with FIRST. We also have many fundraising opportunities you can explore, including grants for both rookie and veteran teams.

6. Learn about safety

At FIRST, student safety is always paramount. Every adult must become familiar with our Youth Protection Program (YPP). Take the time to watch our videos and read our youth protection materials.

7. Review Mentor and Team Resources

Part of the fun is designing and building your robot and FIRST provides a wealth of information in our Resource Library to help you. Find everything from technical guides, to fundraising ideas, or fun activities for your team.