This summer, some of our teens at Metro began participating in an engaging and educational STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program, where they will learn life skills, self-confidence and knowledge! The program aims to inspire interest and encourage youth to pursue education and future career opportunities in the STEM field.
However, this isn’t a typical science fair. Five of our teens are participating in a robotics competition – a sport for the mind! The program is run by the organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and our teens are participating in the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge), one of the four divisions. FTC is exclusively for middle and high school students.
The five of Metro’s teens who have committed to participating for at least two years have formed Team Coding Hope. Aside from the team of five, several other teens have showed interest in the program by attending meetings and events. The teens work under the supervision of a few of our staff at Metro, who keep in close contact with members of the FIRST organization.
The competition is centered on a game where each team designs and builds a robot to compete. Teams must also keep a chronicle of events in their personal engineering notebook – where they track every meeting, design change, outreach initiative and challenge. The teams are scored not only on the robot and engineering notebook, but their professionalism and competitive performance as well. During the competition, the teens learn time management, problem solving, conflict resolution and effective communication.
FIRST was founded in 1989 to motivate and inspire young people to become interested in STEM fields. Since the beginning, 87% of team members are more interested in going to college and twice as likely to major in a STEM field. Teens who participate in FIRST are eligible to apply for $30 million in scholarship opportunities.