Welcome to a New Season of FIRST®in Florida!

Whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer to the FIRST community in Florida, we’re delighted to welcome you to another great season of hands-on STEM fun and learning! Our progression of programs offers educational opportunities for K-12 youth in schools and community groups like 4-H Clubs, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Homeschool groups and more.

The attached companion information sheet provides a broad overview of the FIRST Family of Programs.  We encourage you and your students to explore each progressively more challenging level of FIRST to maximize your students’ academic experience and to enjoy all that FIRST has to offer.

Jr. FIRST LEGO® League (Jr. FLL) starts youth as young as 6 on the road to critical thinking and problem solving, building simple models with LEGO elements and showing children how to do elementary research. The Jr. FLL challenge was released August 1, and the event season runs from November to the following May.  FIRST LEGO League (FLL) kicks things up with a rigorous research project, an all autonomous robot build with LEGOs, and a fast paced table competition. The FLL challenge will be released August 28, with the program season running through January 2013.

Students aging out of FLL will find FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) an exciting next step. Building on the engineering and programming experiences they enjoyed in FLL, FTC employs the NXT brick familiar to FLL students, combined with the more robust TETRIX® build system and other materials.  The FTC challenge will be revealed on September 8th, with qualifying events running into early 2013.   FIRST Tech Challenge can function as a full scale high school program or, after experiencing FTC, students and teams might enjoy transitioning to the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), posing a whole new set of exciting challenges with bigger teams, a much larger robot and a short, fixed build period that kicks off on January 5, 2013 and ends just six weeks later.  All four of these programs build rigorously upon one other, and can create a seamless opportunity for unparalleled K-12 hands-on STEM learning, and come together in April in St. Louis, MO for the annual FIRST  World Festival Invitational for FLL and FIRST World Championship for FTC and FRC.

Registration for teams is currently open for Jr. FLL, FLL and FTC. FRC registration opens September 27, 2012.  Rookie team grants may be available for FLL, FTC and FRC teams.  Additionally, FIRST Graduation Grants are available for FLL teams transitioning to FTC. To be eligible for the grant,   FTC rookie teams must have at least one FLL graduate. The grant covers the FTC team registration fee of $275 and provides $300 towards parts and materials for the competition.  Visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/grow for more information.

All programs welcome volunteers for upcoming tournaments and meets, for everything from sign-in to judging.  Contact individual Florida program organizers for information about funding support that may be available, or to volunteer as a mentor, coach or at an event, or if you’re interested in being a community liaison:

Visit usfirst.org for program specific information,  and www.FIRSTinFlorida.wordpress.com for updates on FIRST programs and events in Florida.

We are FIRST, and we’re glad you are,  too!

Jr. FIRST LEGO® League and Jr.FLL®,  FIRST LEGO League® and FLL FIRST®, FIRST®Robotics Competition, FRC®, FIRST®Tech Challenge, and FTC®, are registered trademarks of FIRST®(www.usfirst.org). © 2010 The United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®).  Used by special permission.  All rights reserved.

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