FIRST ® Robotics Comes to St. Francis High School
FIRST = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology
The fall of 2017, SFHS joined over 200 Minnesota schools as FIRST Robotics became available to our high school students. In May 2017, students and faculty petitioned the District 15 School Board for a team and they unanimously approved funding to incubate this new activity. FIRST Robotics will engage our youth in learning more about science and technology as they learn to build a robot for competitions beginning in the Spring of 2018.
What is FIRST Robotics?
Dubbed a varsity Sport for the Mind,™ FIRST® Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Teams of 10 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Professional Mentors volunteer their time and talents to guide each team.
Students work alongside professional engineers to build and compete with a robot of their own design. They learn and use sophisticated hardware and software. It’s more than just building a robot. As students develop their design, manage the project, program they learn teamwork, strategic thinking, and Coopertition® skills. Each year, SFHS hopes to earn a place in the FIRST® Championship and students hope to qualify for scholarships at nearly 200 colleges/universities.
Why is this important?
Careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are among the highest sought-after jobs for students, and this program provides an opportunity to learn some foundational skills to make our students competitive. Students will get hands-on learning in STEM and they will gain important experience in problem solving, time management, conflict resolution, and communication skills as well.
FIRST Robotics operates under the guidelines of Coopertition® which is the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. St. Francis is fortunate to have help from neighboring teams who have set up similar programs in their schools or organizations.
There is something for every student in FIRST Robotics. While the focus is on engineering and building a robot, many talents are needed on the team. Other areas include marketing, finance, fundraising, communications, graphics, management, and more. Parents and community volunteers are needed to mentor in all these areas.