FIRST combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology. You can read more about the FIRST organization at usfirst.org
The FIRST program offers competitive robot sports for several age groups. For the high school bracket there is the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) – “the varsity sport for the mind.” This will be the first year that Wilde Lake High School (WLHS) will field a team. In FIRST vernacular, WLHS will be a “rookie” team.
On January 7th FIRST held a kickoff event for the competition season. During the kickoff event the teams saw a demonstration of the game that their robot will be competing in as part of an alliance with two other teams. After kickoff there is a six-week period when each team builds their robots from a standard set of parts. At the end of that six-week period, the robot is shipped to the competition location. The first competition the WLHS team plans to attend is the Chesapeake Regional at the Baltimore Convention Center March 8-10, 2012. If things go well after many qualifying matches, the team will be on their way to the Championship game in St. Louis, MO April 26-28, 2012.
The students are not alone in this endeavor. Teachers and volunteer professional mentors lend their time and expertise to the team to provide as close to a real world engineering experience as a student can get. The local community provide sponsorship support through donations of funding, food (to feed the team while they work long hours building the robot), and/or materials and supplies such as motors, batteries, and tools. If you are interested in sponsoring the WLHS FIRST Robotic team, complete the sponsorship form and return it