FIRST Brandeis Study

FIRST Longitudinal Study and Student Impact

FIRST robotics programs work! The lives of our students are changing for the better by participating in these engaging STEM programs with opportunities available for them to continue their education and enter the workforce via scholarships, internships, and workforce development programs.

Evidence from the ongoing FIRST Longitudinal Study, conducted via a multi-year partnership with Brandeis University, demonstrates that FIRST is meeting our mission and goals to increase the number of young people interested in STEM – and FIRST alumni’s interest extends beyond their participation in the program to their educational and career choices.

FIRST participants show significant gains in workforce skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
FIRST students are three times more likely to show an increase in STEM interest than comparison group students. Positive impacts are evident for all FIRST students regardless of race, gender, income, or community type.
Compared to their peers, FIRST female alumni are more likely to take coursework in engineering (3.7x more) and computer science (5.3x more).
Young women in FIRST have significant gains in all STEM areas including interest, career interest, activity, knowledge, and identity compared to their non-participating peers.
FIRST female alumni are more likely to declare majors in engineering and computer science than their peers.
59% of FIRST female alumni are more likely to declare majors in engineering and computer science than their peers.

Education Standards Alignment

FIRST has completed an external analysis and mapping of all FIRST programs educational standards, and FIRST aligns to goals for learning outcomes with 21st century students.

FIRST content is aligned to the following:

Common Core
Math & English Language Arts
Next Generation Science Standards
Computer Science Teachers Association
International Technology Engineering Education Association
International Society for Technology in Education
Partnership for 21st Century Learning
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning

Curriculum for Educators

FIRST curriculum is developed using a project-based learning method. Students gain knowledge and skills by working towards goals through the investigation of solutions and engagement in a complex question or problem to solve. Content is designed to meet specific STEM learning objectives through connected learning principles. This allows FIRST content to be embedded or integrated to promote learning in a variety of context.

Providing relevant and real-world project-based learning opportunities can increase student interest and shifts the responsibility for learning gains to the student as they work to acquire the knowledge to solve the problem. Strong interest results in greater motivation to struggle through difficult concepts and, a growth mindset, as well as greater retention of content due to the connection of rigorous and relevant activities during learning. The connection to real world problems, career exploration and technical skill building prepares students for their future in the 21st Century workforce.

Curriculum is in PDF format and can be easily downloaded for use in the classroom. The curriculum compliments the hands-on training and workshops offered each season as well as virtual webinar training for teachers, coaches, and students.

Commitments to Enhancing Youth

FIRST is committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. A vital part of our strategic intent is to serve an inclusive and diverse audience, reflecting the population of the communities we serve, and AZFirst is committed to ensuring our programs reach all districts statewide regardless of demographic and access to resources. Funding support will help close the gaps in accessibility for our underserved students and ensure accessibility in all of our schools.

Ensuring all students have the opportunity to succeed into the future, FIRST offers a Scholarship Program with more than $80 million in scholarship opportunities to FIRST alumni from 200 FIRST Scholarship Providers as well as internship opportunities for FIRST participants. Arizona offers one scholarship per FRC event, specifically for Arizona students, to pursue a major or degree program at a college or university in engineering or science in addition to the FIRST provided scholarships.

Exploring, developing and implementing strategies to become more inclusive and ensure access to our programs to all students (as well as access to key supports) is critical for FIRST to reach its goal and mission. All young people should have the opportunity to become science and technology leaders. FIRST will remove barriers to program participation for underserved, underrepresented students. Pursuant to that end, FIRST Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion is a concerted, organized effort to develop strategies to make its programs more accessible and inclusive.