FIRST Robotics Program: FIRST Technical Challenge
What is FIRST Tech Challenge?
This program is yet another program offered by the FIRST Robotics Organization that encourages students of the high school level to get interested into the fields of math, science, and technology. Similar to the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), this program gives teams a challenge to accomplish in a 6 week build period. At the end of the six weeks, these teams are put together in alliances to compete against other FTC teams in the region.
What's the difference between FTC and FRC?
There are many differences between these two programs, however one of the most prevalent differences is that FTC is usually composed of fewer members and is cheaper in general. Smaller FTC teams allow any and all students to get hands on experience in almost every aspect in building a robot. FRC teams are usually composed of 15-30 kids whereas FTC teams are about 3-10 students. It is said that FTC students are more likely to be able to get hands-on engagement with the robot, whereas some students from the FRC program are not.
FIRST Tech Challenge website
Timeline of FTC
FIRST Robotics Competition
US FIRST website
If you didn't know...
Currently SMNW offers a class that lets students participate in FTC during the school year. Offered at Broadmoor Technical Center, students from all over the district are encouraged to go. For more information, ask your local school counselor.
Minorities in FIRST Tech Challenge
FIRST Tech Challenge is known for being slightly more racially diverse. With 35% composed of multiple minorities (compared to FRC's 27%), students are more likely able to get more face-to-face mentoring. Females involved in FRC are also more likely to be involved in the buisiness aspects of running a robotics team, whereas men usually work on building and designing the robot. However, in FTC men and women alike are crucial members to a single team. Each child on the team is very important and is treated as such. Male participants in the FRC are more likely to report an interest in the fields of science and technology due to the fact they are dealing directly with the construction of their team's robot. Overall, in the FIRST Tech Challenge there are fewer difference between men and women in teams because of the few number of students.
Involvement in the Team: FTC vs. FRC
Though an average of 80% of students from both programs are able to get involved in team activities, there are certain aspects of FIRST Tech Challenge that are appealing to most students:
Number of Students:
Involved in Robot Strategy:
Involve in designing the Robot:
Operating the Robot during Tournaments:
Building the practice fields:
Participate in a leadership role:
FIRST Tech Challenge
Students who participate in FTC also say that it is students who end up making the most important decisions on the team, and reject the idea that the adults do the most important jobs on the team. In all, both programs offer great opportunities for students to participate in building and designing a robot, but because of FTC's smaller teams more students are able to participate.
Financial difference between FTC and FRC
One of the biggest differences between the two programs is that FTC is known to be more affordable than FRC. 78% of FTC leaders say that their program is 'somewhat' or 'very' affordable, compared to FRC's 53%. However, because of the fewer number of students money is very important. 50% of FTC team leaders say that the reason why they discontinued their team is because of 'lack of funds,' compared to FRC's 23%. Team leaders from both programs do agree on the fact that the most difficult aspect of being in these programs are the financial difficulties. These programs encourage students to get active and involved in their sponsorships. Teaching them fundraising skills as well as public speaking skills, these students are more apt to succeed in the fields of marketing and communications.