FIRST incorporates a number of programs for a wide range of age groups. FIRST consists of:

  • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for grades 9-12
  • FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for grades 6-8 (in Michigan) or grades 7-12 (outside of Michigan)
  • FIRST Lego League (FLL) for grades 4-5 (in Michigan) 4-8 (outside of Michigan)
  • FIRST Lego League Junior (FLL Jr. ) for grades K-3

The Foley Freeze – Team 910 has participated in FRC  since 2002.

FIRST Robotics Competition

FRC is, according to the official FIRST website, the “varsity sport for the mind” that challenges students to build and program robots to compete in a certain game created each year against their competitors. Games have ranged from stacking to launching to even a soccer-style game. Students learn how to transfer brainstorming to CAD to reality and use and apply these skills to a competitive situation. FRC is the closest a high school student can get to “real-world engineering.” Students also have the opportunity to be involved with business-oriented goals and graphic arts, including designing the team website. Alumni of The Foley Freeze have pursued careers in engineering, and several have returned to mentor the students on today’s team to grow in a similar way.

Students involved in FRC can…

  • Learn skills from professionals in their respective fields (engineers, programmers, designers, etc.)
  • Build and compete with a robot of their own unique design
  • Learn and use advanced software and hardware
  • Qualify for over $25 million in college scholarships

FIRST Tech Challenge

Similar to FRC, FTC allows groups of students with a limited budget to participate in a similar game using a sports model. Teams consisting of up to 10 students design, program, and build a robot to compete against other teams. FTC is also strongly focused in community involvement and outreach.

More information can be found on the FTC page of FIRST’s official website.

FIRST Lego League and Jr. Lego League

The Lego League is the stepping stone for the advanced robotics programs. Students design and build a robot out of Lego parts and, with the help of mentors and a coach, put it into action on a thematic playing surface. The students will apply real-world math and science concepts to design, build, and test their robot using Lego Mindstorms technology.


FIRST Place is a program that allows people of almost any age to explore science, math, and technology in their own way surrounded by others who are just as enthused as they are. There are a number of activities and applications that grow and change to benefit students, teachers, and anyone interested.