FIRST approved for Combined Federal Campaign

CFC logoFIRST recently became an approved charity within the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). This means federal employees may designate FIRST as a preferred charity to receive funds from payroll deductions.  FIRST’s CFC number is 73876.

So, if you’re a federal employee or you know someone who is, please consider contributing to FIRST via the Combined Federal Campaign.

FLL Intro Meeting in Rockville on Aug. 26

On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, the Rockville Science Center (RSC) will host a planning meeting for the 2014/2015 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) program. RSC wants to support, maintain and expand FLL in Montgomery County. The focus of this meeting will be finding and helping adults to take on the role of coach, and getting teams started as soon as possible.

The meeting will take place in the Johns Hopkins University, Academic and Research Building, at 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. It will start at 7pm in classroom 103.  Here is a map for location and parking information. JHU-AR_Building

Before attending, please review the FLL web site at . FLL is a robotics engineering program for students in grades 4-8 (ages 9-14). There are hundreds of teams in Maryland and many thousands of children participating. The RSC’s objective is to develop teams and support them with the right mix of children, parents, mentors, and resources.

The meeting will review the FLL program and how the Rockville Science Center will support teams. If you are interested in being a coach, looking for support from RSC, or have a child who is looking for a team, please complete this survey form.  RSC FLL2014Survey

For further information, contact the Rockville Science Center at  Our big thanks to the RSC for hosting this meeting and for all their support for FIRST.

FLL World Class “Meet the Experts” Expo on Sep. 13

2014 Meet the Experts ExpoBooz Allen Hamilton is hosting a festival celebrating the FLL WORLD CLASSSM Challenge!  It’s Saturday, September 13th at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA.  Two sessions offered: 9:30-11:30 AM and  1:00-3:00 PM

All FIRST LEGO League participants, along with their coaches and family members, are invited to “meet the experts.” Experts will share what they do and know through demonstrations, hands-on materials, literature, and conversation. This is a free event, but attendees should register in advance.  For more information and to register, go to (password: Learn).

More information: FLL World Class Expo, Participant Invitation

Maryland/DC 2014 FTC Kickoff, Sep. 6

FTC LogoStart the 2014 Maryland/DC FIRST Tech Challenge season with us at our Kickoff event and workshops on Sep. 6 at Capitol College (11301 Springfield Road, Laurel, MD).

Workshop and seminar sessions start at 9am.  The new game reveal and overview of the Maryland/DC FTC season begins at 11:30am.  More workshops, seminars and game discussions continue in the afternoon. Full agenda is posted here: 2014 Kick-Off Agenda-8

Rookie FTC teams and older teams that want a refresher on robot building are welcome to bring their robot kit and a PC with programming software to build a simple ranger bot and have it working by the end of the day.  Experienced teams and coaches will offer assistance and advice.

The entire event is free and open to the public, but please register so we have a good idea of headcounts for the workshops and lunch.

FIRST Information Night at JHU APL on Sep. 3, 2014

IMG_1462Intended AUDIENCE:  Educators, Parents and Mentors who are new to FIRST Robotics or considering forming a team — covers Jr.FLL, FLL, FTC and FRC programs WHEN:  Wednesday, September 3, 6 PM – 8 PM WHERE:  John’s Hopkins Applied Physics Lab – 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd  Laurel, MD 20723, Building 1 Cafeteria

JHU/APL, ASME and FIRST invite you to an evening of discussion and demonstration of robotics. If you are interested in starting a FIRST team for your elementary, middle school, or high school age child, or being a mentor or sponsor, you will not want to miss this session.  Local teams from all four FIRST programs (Jr.FLL, FLL, FTC and FRC) will be on hand.

For kids ages 9 to 14, FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an exciting and fun international robotics program that ignites an enthusiasm for discovery, science, and technology. Each year FLL teams embark on an adventurous challenge based on current, real-world issues and then build and compete with robots made from Legos and Lego Mindstorm controller kits.  For kids ages 6-9, Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) gives a taste of Lego building, teamwork and fun research.

The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) are designed for high-school-aged students to discover how interesting and rewarding the life of engineers and scientists can be. It challenges teams of students to design, build and operate robots in an exciting sports-like game.

Cost: Free! See flyer for more info: 2014 FIRST Information Night at APL Register here by Sep. 2.

Battle O’ Baltimore coming Sep. 20, 2014

13749663023_d6f1195a02_zThe Baltimore Area Alliance is pleased to announce its 8th annual Battle O’ Baltimore, one of the east coast’s premier FIRST® Robotics Competition off-season tournaments, will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014, and will once again be a highlight of Baltimore Innovation Week.  See our 2014 Battle O Baltimore Flyer and help spread the word.

The McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland will host the Battle O’ Baltimore in the Lamborn Field House on September 20 from 9 AM – 5 PM.  Courtside seats are available and the event is free and open to the public.  30-minute guided tours are available to visitors registered through Baltimore Innovation Week or  Demonstrations of all four of FIRST‘s K-12 programs will be on display at the Battle O’ Baltimore.

Maryland/DC FTC Team Leader Newsletter – July 10, 2014

Greetings Teams: FTC LogoWelcome to a new form of Maryland/DC FTC team communication for the 2014 – 2015 season. We aim to provide periodic updates via this newsletter and Maryland FIRST blog post. Topics for today: 1.  Register your teams 2.  Save the dates 3.  Outreach Opportunities 4.  SuGO Workshop

  1. To register your FTC team for the 2014 – 2015 season, click here:
  2. Save the Dates! We’re making plans for our 2014-15 season in Maryland and DC.  The sites/events are not all nailed down yet, but this is what we’re aiming for.  Watch for more details.
    • Sep. 6: FTC Season Kickoff and Workshops at Capitol College, Laurel
    • Sep. 20: Battle O’ Baltimore FIRST Robotics Competition off-season event at McDonogh School in Owings Mills.  We will have and FTC field demo and aim to hold additional workshops and robot build clinic.
    • Nov. 15: Robot build clinic and workshops at Glenelg Country School, Ellicott City
    • Dec. 6: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Dec. 14: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Jan. 10: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Jan. 11: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Jan. 17: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Jan. 18: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Jan. 24: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Jan. 31: Probable FTC Qualifier
    • Feb. 21: Maryland FTC Championship
    • Mar. (tbd): East Super Regional, Pennsylvania
    • April 22-25: FIRST Championship, St. Louis
  3. Outreach Opportunities
    • July 24: 20th Annual YMCA Thingamajig® Invention Convention at The Show Place Arena and Prince George’s Equestrian Center.  Looking for 1-2 FTC teams to help demo bots and offer robot drivers licenses.
    • Sep. 3 (tentative): FIRST Info Night at JHU Applied Physics Lab, Laurel.  Looking for 1 FTC team to represent program and talk about starting new teams.
    • Sep. 6: Workshop topics/contributions for FTC Kickoff.  We’re open to recommendations and volunteers to lead workshops for all attending FTC teams.
    • Sep. 14: Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire.  Looking for 1-2 teams to let visitors drive robots.
    • Sep. 20: Battle O’ Baltimore.  Looking for 2-4 teams to run older robots on field as demos.  Also seeking veteran teams to help new teams in rookie build workshops.
  4. SuGO Workshop The Horizons 4-H Club is offering a SuGO robotics workshop. Interested? Please go to this website for full details and to register and pay:

Spangler Family featured by FIRST FTC

Spanglers3We’re delighted to see the article featuring the Spangler family in FIRST’s FTC blog.  The Spanglers are indeed integral to our FTC operations here in Maryland and we thank them for all they do.  Next time you’re at a FIRST event — like the Maryland FIRST Tech Challenge Championship on February 22 at the JHU Applied Physics Lab — let them know they’re appreciated.

NASA Panel on Workforce Diversity, 3/12/14

NASA logoNASA has extended an invitation for area high school students to attend a panel session to celebrate Women’s History Month: “Workforce Diversity: Involving Everyone in the Conversation.”  The panel will take place March 12 from 9:30-11:30am at NASA Headquarters Auditorium in Washington, DC.  See the NASA WHM Flyer for more details; RSVP requested by February 20.

FIRST at Congressional Hearing 1/9/14

PrintOn Thursday, January 9, 2014, Dean Kamen and four FIRST students will testify about FIRST and STEM before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The topic is “Private Sector Programs that Engage Students in STEM.”

We’re delighted that two of the students are from Maryland, Ellana Crew from Team 1111 and Vishnu Rachakonda from Team 53. Joining them are two FIRST students from Virginia, Brian Morris from Team 612 and Daniel Nette from Team 1418.

The hearing is open to the public beginning at 10am in Rayburn House Office Building Room 2318.  If you have a chance to come to the Capitol on Thursday, it should be an interesting experience. Or have a look at the webcast.