What is FIRST?

Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), established it in 1989 with the intention to inspire children from kindergarten through high school to have an interest in science and technology. FIRST strives to provide interesting and easily accessible programs that aim to motivate young people to learn more about, and pursue a career in, subjects such as science, technology, math, and engineering. Throughout this process, FIRST additionally seeks to assist kids in building self-confidence and life skills, such as the ability to work with others and to demonstrate gracious professionalism and coopertition.


FIRST has two main philosophies that it seeks to teach kids; gracious professionalism and coopertition


While gracious professionals are strong competitors and eager learners, they always treat those around them with respect and kindness, and they are not rude or disrespectful to those whom they may have beaten or lost to in competition. They exhibit empathy and integrity on and off of the game field and additionally value high-quality work and community.


To be displaying Coopertition®, you must be respectful and kind to your competitors. It means that you should be helpful to those whom you are competing with, even in the depths of the competition, assisting them when you are able. Coopertition means teaching, learning from, your fellow teammates and the members of other teams.

FIRST Core values

FIRST has five main core values;

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.

  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.

  • Impact:  We apply what we learn to improve our world.

  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences. 

  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.

  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

Levels of FIRST

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