ColoradoFIRST

Starting an FTC Team

Why FTC

  1. It is an adaptable program that can be used in and out of the classroom where teams of up to 15 students use a modular robotics platform, powered by Android technology, to design, build, and compete in a FIRST designed game.
  2. It gives students the opportunity to…
    • Explore the creative problem-solving process within a fun sports competition model
    • Design, build, and program robots with modular levels of difficulty based on students current knowledge
    • Apply real-world math and science concepts
    • Document the engineering process
    • Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills
    • Develop workforce skills by practicing critical thinking, professionalism, self-management, and communication skills as they work together in a team.

     3. There is Professional Development training, coach/mentor training, and a strong network of experienced coaches that are available to help new coaches.

    4. Through the Google.org grant, we currently have funding to help with season cost!

    5. It’s Fun! 

The Basics – What you need to know before starting

  • Season Timeframe:
    • September – Season Kickoff : the new game is released
    • September-December : Teams meet 2-4 times a week to build their robot. There are scrimmages and workshops as well that teams can attend
    • December – February: Tournament Season – teams attend 1-2 qualifier events to compete their robot. The top teams from the qualifiers attend state to compete to qualify for world championships.
  • Cost: A starter budget for a rookie FTC team is ~$2500. Apply for the Google.org grant here, to get financial assistance.
  • Space Needs
    •  An FTC robot fits inside a 18”x18”x18” cube and competes on a 12′ by 12′ field that fits in most classrooms. Teams can purchase a full field, half field, or just the game elements to help them with their season. FTC can operate out of basements, classrooms, or garages.
  • Tool Needs
    • Basic FTC starter bots can be assembled with an tools from a basic toolkit (allen wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, etc.). Many teams will use 3D printers as well. More advanced teams will start manufacturing their own components as well but that is not a requirement. 
  • Who is on a team
    • Teams consist of at least two coaches (18+) and no more than 15 students (ages 12-18). Funding is available for middle school aged focused teams.

How to start a team – Step by Step Guide

Step 1 – Gauge Interest

  • Every teams needs to have 2 adult coaches/mentors and up to 15 students (age 12-18)
  • Mentors do not need to have a technical background. Click Here to learn more about the mentor role.
  • Teams can be formed in any environment and need not come only from a school. Organizations such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, church youth organizations, home school communities, or a group of interested students are excellent starting points to form FIRST Tech Challenge teams.
  • Every team is different and there is no “ideal” number of students on a team. The minimum number of students is 1, and the maximum number is 15. Ultimately, the size of a team is based upon the mentor’s preference and the interest of the students.
  • Suggestions for Recruiting Students
  • Suggestions for Recruiting Mentors
  • Note – We currently have funding to financial help middle school teams through Google.org. The Google.org grant is an equity, needs based grant. Please look over the team requirements found here if you are planning on applying for support. 

Step 2 – Brainstorm what your season will look like

Think about and answer the following questions:

  • Where will the team meet? Select a workplace that has as many of the following as possible:
    • Internet access
    • Enough space to host the entire team, the computers, and all supplies.
    • A secure place to store the parts and partially assembled robot between team meetings.
    • Good lighting, at least in the worktable area.
    • Simple sets of tools for working with parts.
    • Work tables and chairs.
    • Space for at least a partial practice field.
    • Room on the ends will be needed for drivers. Note: a full-sized
      field is 12’ X 12’ (3.66 m x 3.66 m).
  • How often will the team meet?
  • What is the current skill set of the team members?
  • Where can the team get funding from? What type of fundraising could we do?
  • Have Questions? Reach Out! We are here to help you. Contact us at ftc@coloradofirst.org

Step 3 – Put together a budget – Connect with us!

  • Sample Team Budget Guide
  • Excel budget to edit
  • Seriously, we want to help! If you haven’t reached out to our team yet, now is a great time! Contact us at ftc@coloradofirst.org. We can also get you connected with our mentor network.

Step 4 – Apply for funding (may need to be switched with step 5 depending on on the time of year)

Google.ORG Image

Thanks to Google.org, we have funding to help support rookie and veteran FTC teams and mentors. 

Requirements

  • Teams must be middle school focused
  • This is an equity based grant with the focus areas being female, latinx/hispanic, title 1, and rural
  • Currently accepting requests for the 2024-25 season
  • Teams must be able to provide a non-profit w-9 in order to receive funding. If you are a community team, consider using Hack Club Bank or something similar.

Can provide financial support to cover…

  • Team registration
  • Event registration
  • Robot kits and components
  • Season materials
  • Game field and elements
  • Coach/Mentor Training
  • Travel

Apply Here

Support process through Colorado FIRST Overview

  1. Submit a support request application
  2. Someone will reach out to finalize any details needed for the request. 
  3. The request will then be sent to be approved.
  4. If approved, the team will need to provide a W9 and a signed MOU (provided by Colorado FIRST)
  5. Once all documentation has been collected, the bank will schedule a date to issue a check to the entity listed on the w9

Step 5: Register your team

Registration for FIRST Tech Challenge is required and can be accomplished online through the  FIRST webpage. New users will be asked to provide contact information for the creation of a new username and password. All youth team members must complete their youth registration in their user profiles.
Once logged into the account on www.firstinspires.org, a user can:

  • Create a new team
  • Edit team information.
  • Pay for the season registration through the Storefront.
  • Access the Storefront to order materials (see Purchasing Robot Supplies below).
  • Obtain team access to the official FIRST forums.
  • Ensure that each team member is registered and has obtained parent consent in the online Youth Team
    Member Registration System.
  • Complete your team roster, in your team dashboard. A
    completed roster is required at check-in for events.

Rookie Registration Instructions

Step 6: Purchase Materials

Once you have created and registered a team, you will be able to purchase build and electronic supplies through our
FIRST Tech Challenge Storefront. Registration is automatically placed in your cart upon entry. Season Registration must be paid first; however, you can purchase build and electronic supplies later if necessary.

Read about the FIRST Tech Challenge Kit of Parts Options. In step 4, you may want to research and talk with other coaches about other options as there is other manufacturers of FTC Starter kits (i.e Studica, and gobilda)

Step 7: Mentor your Team

 

Step 8: Attend Events!

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