FIRST RISE Powered by Star Wars: Force for Change to Inspire Youth Robotics Teams Across the Galaxy

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Global K-12 STEM Education Nonprofit FIRST Kicks Off 2019-2020 Youth Robotics Season in 113 Countries; Team Registration Now Open

MANCHESTER, N.H., May 8, 2019FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international K-12 nonprofit organization, announced that registration is now open for its 2019-2020 youth robotics season, FIRST® RISESM, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change. FIRST estimates that more than 615,000 students from at least 113 countries will participate this season.

FIRST is teaming up with Lucasfilm and parent company Disney as part of the Star Wars: Force for Change philanthropic initiative to inspire the next generation of heroes and innovators, creating a place where collaboration and collective wisdom can elevate new ideas and foster growth. FIRST RISE empowers FIRST participants to explore the future of cities and architecture, building communities filled with inspiration, creativity, and – most importantly – hope. The cross-program theme was revealed to the FIRST community last month at FIRST Championship in a video narrated by Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.

“We’re thrilled that this season, FIRST participants will be inspired by the Star Wars galaxy and their own cities, towns, and communities to embrace problem solving, creativity, and innovation,” said Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST. “With the support of our community of mentors, coaches, event volunteers, sponsors, alumni, and supporters, our youth robotics teams are building a better future for themselves and others.”

Founded in 1989 by prolific inventor Dean Kamen to create the world’s landmark robotics competition for high school students, FIRST has expanded over three decades to offer an international progression of hands-on, team-based robotics challenges – FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. (Grades K-4), FIRST® LEGO® League (Grades 4-8), FIRST® Tech Challenge (Grades 7-12), and FIRST® Robotics Competition (Grades 9-12) – that engage kids early in STEM and inspire a lifelong love of learning and innovation.

FIRST Tech Challenge sponsors include Season Presenting Sponsor Qualcomm, Official Program Sponsor Collins Aerospace, and IoT, CAD and Collaboration Sponsor PTC.

LEGO Education is a founding partner of FIRST LEGO League Jr. and FIRST LEGO League, working closely together with the LEGO Foundation to support both programs globally. This season, FIRST LEGO League is delivered through the support of global sponsors LEGO Education, 3M, National Instruments, Rockwell Automation, and John Deere.

Team registration for FIRST programs is now open. Details of each program’s challenge will be revealed later this year.

  • Beginning in August, FIRST LEGO League Jr. will present an exciting new challenge to ignite creativity in young children. For the 2019-2020 FIRST LEGO League Jr. BOOMTOWN BUILDSM Challenge, teams of 6-10 year-olds will use their imaginations and an architecture-themed Inspire Set to explore a scientific concept, then build a model and code it to make it move using LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0. They will also illustrate their research through a Show Me Poster.
  • The 2019-2020 FIRST LEGO League CITY SHAPERSM Challenge, kicking off in August, tasks students with completing a city-themed challenge designed in partnership with architects and engineers. An international program for students 9-14 years old (9-16 years old outside North America), FIRST LEGO League gives students the chance to develop, design, build, and code LEGO® Education SPIKETM Prime and LEGO MINDSTORMS® EV3 robots to perform autonomous “missions” on a themed playing field and design innovative solutions to a real-world problem inspired by the theme.
  • FIRST Tech Challenge teams will be inspired to push forward and up into the skies when they compete in SKYSTONESM, presented by Qualcomm. Starting in September, FIRST Tech Challenge teams of up to 15 students, ages 12-18, explore the possibilities of STEM through designing, building, programming, and operating robots to play a competition challenge in an alliance format. Team members also earn awards based on their teamwork, engineering design and process, and connection to their local and engineering community.
  • FIRST Robotics Competition teams will work toward building a new metropolis, harnessing renewable sources of energy to power the grid, generate new growth, and keep our community engaged, with INFINITE RECHARGESM. Working with adult mentors, FIRST Robotics Competition participants have limited time and resources to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge, which will be unveiled in January. Teams compete at events that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.

Throughout their experience, FIRST teams follow a signature set of FIRST Core Values, which emphasize friendly sportsmanship, respect for the contributions of others, teamwork, learning, and community involvement.

For more information about FIRST RISE, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, visit


About FIRST®
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

About Star Wars: Force for Change
Star Wars: Force for Change aims to create transformation and change in the lives of kids by helping to bridge the STEM skills gap, utilizing the fun and intrigue of Star Wars storytelling to inspire innovation, help build confidence and ignite curiosity. In doing so, Star Wars: Force for Change hopes to embolden and motivate the next generation of heroes and innovators, while also empowering the Star Wars fan community to use their fandom for good. To learn more, visit

© & ™ 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd.