An unprecedented number of student teams will converge on St. Louis today through Saturday to compete in the world's largest science and technology competition, called FIRST, which will award nearly $15 million in scholarships.
Cheshire High School's CRASH robotics team is one of the hundreds to take part in the international competition. CRASH stands for "Cheshire Robotics and Sikorsky Helicopters."
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.
Nearly 11,000 American and international students have earned the right to compete at this championship, including Cheshire's CRASH team.
This week's event showcases student teams from the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC-big robots) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC- small robots), both for high-school-age students. There are also middle and elementary school competitions.
"We've seen a 25 percent growth in the number of teams across all of our programs this year," FIRST spokesperson Dennis Garrigan said this week. "The increased number of competition sponsors also designates that companies and institutions are solidly behind the concept of fostering innovation in youth."
FIRST founder Dean Kamen is the inventor of the Segway. The organization was launched in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology.
The FIRST organization is based in Manchester, New Hampshire where organizers say they design accessible programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills.
Supporters may get a close up look at the competition, watch the event from this NASA webcast.