PG&E’s grant supports teams participating in either FIRST LEGO League or FIRST Tech Challenge.
It’s way more than building robots.
For the 2016-2017 season, there is a rolling deadline. This means that we will be reviewing the grants on a regular, ongoing basis. The earlier you apply though, the more likely funds will be available. Completed applications received by the 3rd of each month, you will be notified by the 15th of that month.
The FIRST LEGO League grant application is available at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sSiFiH274ECTxE5VvNbctuyqAZQmC_BZVy0w1B0uqJE
The FIRST Tech Challenge grant application is available at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1vQ7IrXkk3Za8cKr24IeFRHtdLldFQlMCIloMdaCgTK0
If you are not familiar with FIRST programs, I would recommend visiting www.firstinspires.org to learn more.
Earlier, we ran a quick walk through of both programs – the recording is at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1Cx8xbNVlN9dkZwLWdPb3U1a00 . The slides are available at http://www.playingatlearning.org/docs/first-overview-updated-2016.pdf
FIRST LEGO League teams (up to 10 members and for youth between 9 and 14 years old) research a real-world problem such as trash, food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.
It all adds up to tons of fun while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), plus a big dose of imagination and innovating, to solve a problem. Along their discovery journey, they develop critical thinking and team-building skills, basic STEM applications, and even presentation skills, as they must present their solutions with a dash of creativity to judges. They also practice Core Values.
Each team’s season typically concludes with a capstone tournament. All teams may register to compete at a Qualifier Tournament and ~25% of teams are invited to advance to a Championship Tournament based on the team’s overall evaluation for Robot, Project and Core Values.
FIRST Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to play a floor game in an alliance format. The robots are controlled through a smartphone which runs the team’s JAVA app which they program using either MIT App Inventor or Android Studio. Participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!” Guided by adult Coaches and Mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas.
One of the goals of FIRST and FIRST Tech Challenge is to recognize the engineering design process and “the journey” that a Team makes during the phases of the problem definition, concept design, system-level design, detailed design, test and verification, and production by documenting this in a Team’s Engineering Notebook.
Teams also raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach for which they can win specific judged awards. Participants have access to tens of millions of dollars in college scholarships. Each season concludes with regional Championships and an exciting FIRST Championship