RoundupReads FIRST Robotics FAQ

FIRST Robotics FAQ


Chances are that if you work at Johnson Space Center you have heard of the FIRST Robotics Competition, Tech Challenge, or Lego League. For those that haven’t, FIRST is a public charity that designs STEM related programming for students in grades K-12. The 2019 theme for FIRST is "Space," meaning that NASA employees and contractors may be contacted by students with a request to help.

Here are some FAQ’s about being contacted for the event.

Who might contact me?

FIRST Lego League is the first event of the year so it will roll out before the other events, but all four FIRST events will have a space focus this coming year. Because of that, we expect that NASA will be an obvious place for teams to request help. The Lego League is for grades 4-8, but FIRST has programs for students K-12. Students may contact you directly, or you may receive an email from a teacher serving as a mentor to the team.

What if I receive a request for help?

With NASA’s mission tempo and increasingly limited resources, we cannot answer every question. With over 50,000 teams worldwide, there would be no way to accommodate every request. We encourage you to point groups to the NASA Robotics Alliance, which centralizes NASA support to FIRST teams, and has taken the lead on assisting FIRST Lego League teams with their research projects. The Robotics Alliance resources can be reached online at If you do wish to help the effort and answer questions that teams are currently asking visit If you have questions, feel free to contact Drew Price.

How can I volunteer?

To volunteer, visit the FIRST volunteer website at and register as a volunteer. You will be prompted to select a program and event that you are interested in participating in. FIRST will then conduct a background screening after the application is complete. Volunteers at the event can choose between referee, judge, robot inspector, tech advisor, and support roles (e.g., registration). If you want to be a mentor of a team, FIRST is looking for people with a background in engineering, mechanical design, programming, creative thinking, etc.

Thank you for supporting STEM education!

FIRST Robotics competition at the Long Beach Convention Center in 2011
Team 254, cheesy poofs in 2012