FIRST Robotics Competition

FIRST Robotics is a unique varsity sport of the mind designed to help high-school-aged young people discover how interesting and rewarding the life of engineers and scientists can be. It is a sport where the participants play with the pros and learn from them. It involves designing and building a robot which is a fascinating real-world professional experience. In this sport, participants compete on stage and game rules are a surprise every year.

How FIRST Robotics Competition Works

The FIRST Robotics Competition stages short games played by autonomous and remote-controlled robots. The robots are designed and built in 6 weeks (from a common set of parts) by a team of 15 to 25 high-school-aged young people and a handful of engineers-mentors. The students remotely control the robots in competition rounds on the field. Each school year, teams are formed in the fall. The FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff in early January starts the six-week "build" season. Competitions take place in March and April. The FIRST Robotics Competition Regional event is held in GVSU Field House, Allendale, Michigan. It involves 40 to 70 teams cheered by thousands of fans over two and a half days. A championship event caps the season. Referees oversee the competition. Judges evaluate teams and present awards for design, technology, sportsmanship and commitment to FIRST. The Chairman's Award is FIRST's highest honor and recognizes a team that exemplifies the values of FIRST.

Student Engagement

Participation in First Robotics Competition allows students to:

  • Learn from and play with the "pros" of the science and engineering world.
  • Apply math and science concepts to design, build, test, and compete with robots.
  • Gain hands-on experience solving real-world problems.
  • Discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology careers.

Every student - regardless of their scientific, mathematic, or technological expertise - can participate and benefit. There are critical roles for students in:

  • Design, building, and driving
  • Computer animation and programming
  • Research
  • Fundraising
  • Public relations and marketing

First Robotics Competition at GVSU

FIRST Robotics District Competition Sponsors

Grand Valley State University hosts the FIRST Robotics West Michigan Regional Competition. More than 1,000 students from 54 high school teams from around the Midwest gather at GVSU to compete each March. The environment of the competition is part robot extravaganza, part rock concert, and part pep rally. 

Complete information, including a detailed schedule and a list of teams, is available at

More information about the FIRST Robotics Competition is available at

Page last modified March 18, 2024