(CNN) Forty-thousand fans were chanting, screaming and cheering on their teams. The enthusiastic spectators had painted faces, were donning costumes, and no one was actually sitting in their seats — all were standing to get a better look at the action happening in the pens.No, I’m not describing a boxing match. I’m describing a robotics competition — rather THE robotics competition.This April more than 18,000 bright young minds, ages 6 to 18, traveled to St. Louis to participate in the Ultimate Sport for the Mind, aka the FIRST Robotics Championship. The competitors had spent the past six weeks building their robots, putting their blood, sweat and tears into their machines.
FIRST, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting STEM through robotic competitions, is an absolutely fantastic organization. They are THE leader for robotic competitions in the United States, holding local, regional, state, and nationwide competitions for kids 7-18 years old.
FIRST has many different levels of competitions:
- Junior FIRST LEGO League for ages 6-9
- FIRST LEGO League for ages 9-14
- FIRST Robotics Competitions for ages 14-18
- FIRST Tech Challenge for grades 7-12 (ages 12-18)
Learn more about the FIRST programs, and start a team this summer! Competitions start in the fall.