Nearly 45,000 Students Tackle New FIRST Tech Challenge Game CASCADE EFFECT

4,450 Teams of Students to Build Robots and Engineering Skills During 2014/15 Season

MANCHESTER, N.H. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — October 20, 2014FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international, K-12 not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, launched its 2014/2015 FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) season with an online game reveal earlier this fall. FTC teams gathered at 52 international Kickoff events to get a first glimpse of this season’s game: CASCADE EFFECTSM. An estimated 44,500 students on 4,450 teams around the world will participate in the 2014/2015 FTC season.

FIRST Tech Challenge is a widely-accessible robotics program for grades 7 through 12 that promotes project-based learning. Using a proven formula to engage student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), FTC is one of the fastest-growing programs of its kind. FTC is highly-scalable and easily integrates into the classroom with measurable results. FIRST teams collaborate with business, engineering, and science professionals, and working together, become a focal point of the community in which they live.

“Like all FIRST programs, FIRST Tech Challenge is about more than robots,” said Donald E. Bossi, FIRST President. “Through their participation, students learn the value of hard work and creative problem-solving. As they tackle CASCADE EFFECT this season, FIRST Tech Challenge teams must work together, share ideas, and understand that failure is part of the road to success — much like a ‘real-world’ engineering project they would encounter in the workforce.”

Using a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, students will program their robots to operate in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes on a specially designed field.

The object of the 2013-2014 game is to score more points than an opponent by placing balls into rolling goals and then moving goals into scoring areas. Points can also be awarded when balls are shot into a center goal. Watch the 2014-2015 CASCADE EFFECT game video.

New this season, students who participate in FTC can be nominated for the prestigious FIRST Dean’s List Award. The Award was introduced in 2010 to celebrate outstanding student leaders who displayed exemplary passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals. Now FTC Mentors will also have the opportunity to nominate students for their outstanding leadership skills, commitment to FIRST ideals, contributions to their team, and their effectiveness in increasing awareness of FIRST within their schools and communities.

“We are excited that FIRST Tech Challenge students are now eligible for the FIRST Dean’s List Award,” said Ken Johnson, Director of FIRST Tech Challenge. “This expansion allows us to put a well-deserved spotlight on the valuable things these students are contributing to their teams and communities.”

Newly formed FTC teams, affectionately called “rookies,” are eligible to apply for grants to cover the cost of their registration via the 2015 FIRST Tech Challenge Rookie Grant Program. The grants will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis, and there are currently fewer than 100 grants remaining. For more information: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/grow.

FIRST Tech Challenge Global Sponsors include Official Program Sponsor, Rockwell Collins, and CAD and Collaboration Sponsor, PTC.

About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $20 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST , go to www.usfirst.org .

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