15,000 Students Converging on Detroit This Week for World's Largest Robotics Competition

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

April 22, 2019

LANSING – The 15,000 students converging on Detroit this week with their custom-built combatants means it's again time for what’s billed as the world’s largest robotics competition.

The For Inspiration Recognition of Science & Technology or FIRST® Championship, now in its second year, returns Wednesday through Saturday at two Detroit locations: Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., and Ford Field, 2000 Brush St., both in Detroit. It’s free to the public.

More than 15,000 K-12 students from Michigan and 24 other states and some 40 countries will compete in teams, pitting their robots in timed matches and making adjustments on the fly like Indy pit crews – before an estimated 40,000 cheering students, friends, parents, educators, mentors, coaches, volunteers, and sponsors.

During high-energy matches, students ages 6-18 put their creations to the test with the help of mentors and professional engineers.

“The FIRST Championship is a win-win, recognizing the amazing technical wizardry of Michigan’s students and those everywhere, and also closing the gap between graduating students’ skills and hiring managers’ expectations,” Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles said. “The event also points up the fact that local companies are investing in local talent, while working with the STEM community to promote equal access and support underserved groups.”

The annual, corporate-sponsored FIRST Championship culminates the robotics season for student teams who participated in regional competitions held worldwide. Corporate sponsors include Bosch, Ford, General Motors, DTE Energy, Toyota, and Qualcomm. All support teams to help grow the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math workforce and retain talent in Detroit and Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) Office of Systems, Evaluation, and Technology administers the FIRST Robotics competitive grant. In the past two years, its funding totals up to $7.5 million for local and intermediate school districts and $600,000 for private schools, and since 2013 funding has averaged $2.5 million a year. MDE staff also serve on the FIRST Robotics World Championship Planning Team. 

This is the event’s second year in Detroit. In 2018, two Michigan teams, Stryke Force, Kalamazoo and Team RUSH, Clarkston, were part of the winning alliance for that year's game, FIRST POWER UPSMsm.

The State Board of Education celebrated the success of the Stryke Force, Kalamazoo and Team RUSH, Clarkston FIRST Robotics teams by honoring them at a June 2018 board meeting. Their presentation demonstrated the level of technical capacity, educational excellence, and 21st Century competencies achieved by these students and those on other teams across the state.

The final nail-biting rounds of the 2019 event’s Robotics Competition and Tech Challenge showdowns start Saturday afternoon, April 27.

FIRST Championship offers three levels of competition and one student exhibition for students:

  • FIRST LEGO® League Jr. World Festival Expo (ages 6-10)
  • FIRST LEGO League World Festival (ages 9-14; 9-16 outside the U.S., Canada and Mexico)
  • FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship (ages 12-18)
  • FIRST Robotics Competition Championship (ages 14-18)

High school students who participate in FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition may apply for more than $80 million in college scholarships.

Below is a schedule:

Wednesday, April 24

Time

Event

Location

11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

FIRST Innovation Faire

Cobo – level 2

4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

FIRST Tech Challenge Qualification Matches

Cobo – level 2

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

FIRST Robotics Competition Practice Matches

Cobo – level 2

 

Thursday, April 25

Time

Event

Location

7 a.m.

Pits and build spaces open for all programs

Cobo – levels 1 and 2

7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

FIRST LEGO League Practice Matches

Cobo – level 1

8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

FIRST Tech Challenge Matches

Cobo – level 2

8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

FIRST Robotics Competition Qualification Matches

Cobo – level 2

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

FIRST Innovation Faire & Scholarship Row

Cobo – level 2

 

Friday, April 26

Time

Event

Location

7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

FIRST LEGO League Competition Matches

Cobo – level 1

7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

FIRST Robotics Competition Qualification Matches

Cobo – level 2

7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

FIRST Tech Challenge Qualification Matches

Cobo – level 2

9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Festival Expo

Cobo – level 1

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

FIRST Innovation Faire & Scholarship Row

Cobo – level 2

 

Saturday, April 27

4/27/19

Time

Event

Location

7 a.m. – 12 p.m.

FIRST LEGO League Competition Matches

Cobo – level 1

7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

FIRST Tech Challenge Playoff Matches

Cobo – level 2

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Expo

Cobo – level 1

9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

FIRST Robotics Competition Sub-Division Eliminations

Cobo – level 2

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

FIRST Robotics Competition Round Robin Tournament

Cobo – level 2

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

FIRST Robotics Competition Championship Matches & FIRST Tech Challenge Final Matches & Awards

Ford Field

Find a full event schedule here.

FIRST Championship can be streamed live, including real-time matches, interviews with special guests, commentary from the FIRST sports desk, and more by visiting https://www.Firstchampionship.org/watch-live.

The event remains in Detroit through at least 2020, generating an estimated $30 million annually for Michigan’s economy.