FIRST has partnered with the crowdsourcing organization Partial funding for FIRST team materials is now available to U.S. public and charter school teachers, thanks to #NewsCorp & #DonorsChoose. Teachers can receive funding for robot parts, tools, 3D printers, or any other team materials! Learn more.

This opportunity is open to any educator in a public or public charter school located in the United States who is employed full time by the school or school district and works directly with students at least 75 percent of the time. In the spirit of the crowdfunding model, this campaign will not fund 100 percent of any posted FIRST project. 

Priority for funding is given to registered FIRST teams, schools, and school districts that demonstrate and support Equity, Diversity & Inclusion efforts from FIRST.

Facebook Live on

TODAY at 1pm ET, the STEM in 30 page will host a “Robotics Live Chat” Facebook Live featuring the National Air and Space Museum’s robotics expert Paul Ceruzzi and two FIRST participants from the teams featured in the main episode: Dishaa Bhat from FIRST LEGO League team Cascades Thunderbots (Facebook), and Emma Holincheck from FIRST Robotics Competition Aegis Robotics (Facebook: Centreville Robotics), who is also an alum of and mentor of a FIRST Tech Challenge team­.

The error messages on the FIRST Tech Challenge events pages have been resolved. The pages are up and functioning.

Thank you for alerting us to this problem and for your patience.

STEM in 30 is an interactive classroom program consisting of 30-minute webcasts that engage middle school students in STEM topics ranging from WWI airplanes to rovers on Mars.  

Their first episode of the season, "Robotics: FIRST There Were People, Then There Were Machines," features FIRST teams from both FIRST Chesapeake and Virginia Washington DC FIRST LEGO League

This episode will be available for viewing beginning Thursday September 13th at 11 am.

Thank you VA-DC FLL for your assistance in the filming of this episode.

Can't make it to a FIRST Tech Challenge kickoff event? Make your own! Grab your #STEMsquad and watch Twitch for the live game reveal. Show starts Saturday September 8th at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Watch the FIRST Chesapeake blog for more information later this week about Saturday's events!

This season FIRST Tech Challenge Kickoff and Workshops sponsor ECPI has generously made their technology available for teams to share several of the presentations in an online format. Teams who are unable to attend in person are able to watch the sessions listed below. We are excited to be able to offer this to our teams and welcome your feedback as to what we can do to provide more resources like this to teams in the future. 

FTC Welcome -

10:30am Diversity in FIRST -

12:30pm Programming Java –

2:00pm Fundraising and Sustainability -

3:30pm World Championship Inspire Team Round Table -


For descriptions of the workshop sessions, click here.

For workshop schedule, click here.


 The Virginia Dept of Education STEM Competition team grant applications opened for Virginia public schools interested in fielding a FIRST Tech Challenge or FIRST Robotics Competition robotics team. This grant has significant restrictions, but for eligible schools it also offers very generous funding. Here are the highlights, Please read the application requirements thoroughly. 
• Schools that have demonstrated an interest in establishing new STEM competition teams.
Public high schools at which at least 40 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
• Grants to qualifying high schools are not to exceed $5,000 per school per year. Total STEM competition team grant awards to a division are not to exceed $10,000 per year.
• Schools applying for first-year grants can use the funds for planning purposes and will be eligible to receive a second-year of funding (initiative expansion) grant in the subsequent year, pending availability of funding. 
• Schools seeking second-year grants and meeting all eligibility requirements will be given priority over other grant applicants.
• Grants shall be evaluated in the order that each completed eligible application is received. 
• The STEM Competition Team Grant Initiative Application is due to the Virginia Department of Education, Office of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, on or before September 21, 2018.
When applying, please be aware the grant only allows two grants, or a total of 10,000 per school district. In many cases, there are many more than two FTC and FRC teams within a district. If you need assistance coordinating with other coaches in your district to provide consistent messaging and create a cohesive application as a district, please reach out. We are happy to assist you. The best contact is Kristin Clemons, Director of Programs, email 

Please visit the FIRST Chesapeake grants page for other funding opportunities- there are many grants open to private school or community group teams.