FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, this not-for-profit public organization designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while gaining self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. FIRST® K-12 STEM education programs use robot challenges to build science and technology skills and interests, in a character driven program that also inspires self-confidence, leadership, and life skills.
There are four different programs FIRST offers; FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics Competition. These programs become larger and more challenging as kids move on to the next competition.
Team 7203 KNO3 is a FTC team based out of Tampa. KNO3 and approximately 18-24 other teams are a part of Hillsborough County's R.O.B.O.T. League. In FTC, four teams compete at a time on a 12' by 12' square playing field, two teams per alliance. The robots are a maximum size of 18"x18"x18". The challenge the robots must perform changes every year.
This year's challenge is Rover Ruckus.
Challenges from previous years:
2017-2018 Relic Recovery
2016-2017 Velocity Vortex
2014-2015 Cascade Effect
In the team's five years in existence, we have made it to all different levels of the FIRST competition. In the team's first year we attended Florida State competition but narrowly missed the next two years, each year by less than two spots. In 2017, KNO3 advanced all the way to the World Championship in Houston, Texas, taking second place overall. In 2018, again, we attended the World Championship but fell short of the elimination round. Each year we learn so much from our fellow teams in the ROBOT League, and across the US, and always strive to become better as a team.