Illinois FIRST is the local affiliate for FIRST (the US Foundation for the Inspiration & Recognition of Science and Technology) and supports FIRST teams and volunteers in Illinois.
FIRST is a progression of educational programs for K-12 that aims to "inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting, mentor-based robotics and research programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills; inspire innovation; and foster self-confidence, team-building, and leadership."
Illinois FIRST's mission is to develop and grow FIRST programs through increased awareness, financial commitment, and a building of strong partnerships throughout the state with business, community, academia, and government partners.
FIRST is a progression of four STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educational programs for students in Kindergarden through 12th grades. Students develop their potential and learn "real world" applications by designing, building, and programming robots to compete on a season-specific game field or obstacle course during timed matches.
In Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL), kids ages 6 to 9 years old (grades K through 3) research a problem facing society, design and build a LEGO model with at least one moveable part, and present a poster documenting their journey. Unlike the rest of the FIRST programs, Jr.FLL is non-competitive.
In FIRST LEGO League (FLL), students ages 9 to 14 years old (grades 4 through 8) (1) design, build, and program a LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to perform autonomous missions on an obstacle course during 2 1/2 minute matches; (2) research, develop, and present innovative solutions to a challenge-specific problem confronting scientists and society; and (3) practice the FLL Core Values including teamwork and gracious professionalism.
In FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), students ages 12 to 18 years old (grades 7 through 12) design, build, and program a TETRIX or MATRIX robot to optimize points for a two-team alliance on a game field during a 30-s autonomous period and 120-s tele-operated period.
In FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), students ages 14 to 18 years old (grades 9 through 12) design, build, and program a 120-lb. industrial-grade robot to optimize points for a three-team alliance on a game field during a 10-s autonomous period and a 140-s tele-operated period.