iSPACE supports, promotes and hosts FIRST Robotics programs. FIRST is an international not-for-profit organization that gives students the opportunity to develop the “muscle between their ears” and to gain experiences that will affect their future. It is a “Sport-for-the-Mind”. Teams of students are given a yearly challenge and compete in tournaments to gain real-world application of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) concepts.
The iSPACE mission fits perfectly with FIRST Robotics. In 2002, iSPACE began coordinating the FIRST LEGO League Tournament and FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo in the Cincinnati area. In addition, in 2003, we founded FIRST LEGO League in Kentucky and coordinated the Northern Kentucky FIRST LEGO League tournament for seven years until we handed over the reigns to Kentucky educators. We are the state affiliate partner for Ohio for FIRST Tech Challenge for high school students. Currently, we conduct the FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship Tournament and continue to grow with FIRST Robotics.
FIRST Tech Challenge is for high school students who want to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams of up to 15 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.
The annual FIRST Tech Challenge Challenge is announced in early September each year. After, building, programming and strategizing, teams may chooses to attend two Ohio regional qualifiers which are held between December and January. FIRST Tech Challenge OH has a qualifying system with six qualifying tournaments. Approximately 1 in 6 teams competing in those events will advance to the FIRST Tech Challenge OH Championship Tournament. The FIRST Tech Challenge OH Championship will host 28 teams and 5 OH teams will advance from the FIRST Tech Challenge OH Championship to the North Super Regional in Iowa which is one of four Super Regionals from which teams may then advance to the FIRST World Championship.
FIRST LEGO League is for teams of students, ages 9 to 14. Teams of up to 10 students complete in a yearly challenge with three primary parts, “The Project” and “The Game.” In August, the challenge is announced. “The Project” puts the annual theme into real-world context and typically has three components: looking at the problem (also called research), proposing an innovative solution and sharing results with others in community. In “The Game,” teams use the LEGO MINDSTORMS robot kit to design, build and program an autonomous robot to compete in the challenge in a timed tournament.
Tournaments are like sporting events with judges, referees and awards. Teams compete in one of four Regional Tournaments to qualify for the iSPACE District Tournament. Qualifying teams then compete in the State Championship.
What FIRST LEGO League Offers:
- Discovery of the fun in science and technology
- Real-world application of science and math concepts
- Hands-on problem solving
- Programming experience
- Research presentation project
- Adult Coaches and Mentors
- Team activities guided by FIRST LEGO League Core Values
- Self-esteem and confidence
FIRST LEGO League Junior is a hands-on program for ages 6-9 that is designed to capture children’s curiosity and direct it toward discovering how science and technology impact the world around them. This program features a real-world challenge, to be explored through research, teamwork, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by adult coaches, FIRST LEGO League Junior teams use LEGO building elements to create a model that moves and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey. The culmination of the hard work is a FIRST LEGO League Junior Expo. Volunteer reviewers at the Expo, interview the teams to learn about their LEGO Model and Show Me poster. All of the teams are celebrated and leave with an award. The iSPACE FIRST LEGO League Junior Expo is held in conjunction with the iSPACE District FIRST LEGO League robotics tournament and while participation is not required, teams are encouraged to attend.
Connect with Students to Form an FIRST LEGO League Team. FIRST has a utility on their website called FIRST TeamUP which allows parents, coaches and mentors to connect.
Visit US FIRST Information for more about the National program.
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