The Games

Each season in the early fall, FIRST LEGO League Jr. FIRST LEGO League , and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)  teams learn  their new season challenge.  FIRST Robotics Competition teams get their game revealed in January each year.   At ROBOTICON,  FIRST Robotics Competition teams have an opportunity to play the previous season’s game, while the other program levels will be trying their hands and minds on their current season challenges.   Here’s what we had at ROBOTICON 2016.

FIRST Robotics Competition – FIRST STEAMWorks!


The 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition engineering challenge is called FIRST Steamworks . The  steampunk themed game invites two adventure clubs from an era in which technology relied on steam power to prepare their airships for the ultimate long distance race. Represented by two three-team alliances, each “adventure club” prepares to take flight in three ways:

1. Build Steam Pressure. Robots collect fuel represented by green balls. They score it in high and low goals in their boiler. As fuel is scored steam pressure in the tank on the alliance’s airship builds – the high goal builds pressure faster than the low goal.

2. Start Rotors. Robots retrieve and deliver gears to pilots on their airship who then install them on the appropriate rotor. Once a gear train is complete the rotor can be started.

3. Prepare for Flight. Adventure clubs want their robots to climb aboard their airships so they can assist the pilots during the race.

Check out the game video below!

FIRST Tech Challenge – FIRST Relic Recovery

FIRST Tech Challenge, for  youth in 7th to 12th grade,  are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robust small scale robots in an alliance format.  FIRST Tech Challenge robots use an Android operating system in an accessible, real world engineering experience that’s guided by adult Coaches and Mentors.  Students also keep an engineering notebook to document their build processes.  The 2017-18 game is called FIRST Relic Recovery.

Check out the game video below to see the robot build challenge!  Game manuals and resources are on the FIRST Tech Challenge page at


FIRST LEGO League – Hydro Dynamics

In FIRST LEGO League,  students in 3rd through 8th grade build and program fully autonomous robots out of – LEGOs!  They also do a research project component and related presentation.  The 2017 season challenge is called Hydro Dynamics the FIRST LEGO League game page for full game details!


FIRST LEGO League Jr.- Aqua Adventure

The FIRST LEGO League Jr. Challenge , for youth in kindergarten through 4th grade,  has a different theme each year, usually tied to the FIRST LEGO League Challenge.  The 2017 challenge is called Aqua Adventure!  Each challenge has two defined parts: the Show-Me Poster and the Model. The Show-Me Poster requires teams to illustrate their research and team journey. It provides an opportunity for them to share what they studied, what they learned, and to show information about the team and each team member.

The Model gets teams moving! Teams build a representation of what they are researching, based off the Challenge, and incorporate simple machines and movement into their creation.


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