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FIRST Longitudinal Study from Brandeis University

2019, Findings at 60 Months – Year 5 – Released 2019

Impact Key Findings

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FIRST in the News


How FIRST is Creating Equity in STEM Programs

Classroom Resources

Student Recruitment Tip Sheet – Helpful strategies for recruitment of all students for FIRST teams
Poster - Engineering Design Process
Infographic - Five Simple Ways to Engage Students in STEM
Infographic - The Top 5 Myths About Teaching STEM

Inspire Blog Posts / Case Studies

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How our Learning Differences are our Super Powers
Kenny Bae, FIRST coach and physics teacher for Wolcott School, a Chicago school that supports students with learning differences, shares how his students’ strengths have helped them succeed in FIRST, create innovative projects to make STEM more accessible, and build self-confidence.
How to Encourage Youth to Pursue Manufacturing, Middle-Skills Careers
FIRST President Don Bossi explores how businesses can generate awareness about the possibilities provided by careers in manufacturing, including debunking common misconceptions about middle-skills careers and providing the training, education, and mentorship students need to be successful.
Strategies for creating STEM engagement opportunities in high-poverty schools
Despite the impact STEM enrichment programs can have in engaging student interest and understanding of STEM, many schools struggle to offer hands-on opportunities because they lack funding, coaches, and other forms of support. By providing resources for STEM robotics programs to high-poverty schools and other organizations that reach underserved, underrepresented, and vulnerable students, the FIRST® STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant initiative has identified strategies to help any school open STEM pathways for students. These strategies include: recruiting and training educators as coaches; building coalitions in your local community; removing barriers by providing transportation, food, child care, and teacher-coach stipends; and enabling peer-to-peer or near-peer mentoring.
10 Tips for Internet Fundraising for Your Classroom or School Team
Monique Dituri, a Teacher Ambassador and FIRST mentor, shares tips for crowdfunding she’s learned from helping her high school raise over $775,000 on, a platform for U.S. public school and public charter teachers.
The Future of Computer Science Education
During Computer Science Education Week, FIRST hosted a #FIRSTInspiresChat on Twitter with FIRST President Don Bossi, computer science educators, FIRST sponsors, and more on the importance of improving K-12 computer science access for educators, parents, and students alike.
Why We’re Teaching Other Kids the Building Blocks of Programming and Collaboration
FIRST LEGO League Alumni Sanjay and Arvind Seshan are experienced computer science educators–and they haven’t even graduated high school yet. In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, we’re sharing how the brothers help students, teachers, and coaches learn coding with LEGO MINDSTORMS.
Teacher inspires a culture change through high school robotics and crowdfunding
Monique Dituri, a STEM teacher and robotics team mentor at Clifton High School in New Jersey, has galvanized her school to raise over $775,000 through crowdfunding on Through her dedication to her students and getting them resources they need to realize their full potential, Dituri is leading a culture change in her community to one where STEM is as celebrated as athletics and more young people have access to life-changing STEM programs like FIRST.
Creating STEM Engagement Opportunities for Tomorrow’s Workforce
FIRST President Don Bossi spoke with EdSurge about putting inspiration in front of education in the only sport where every kid can go pro and offered insight on why a diverse workforce is the best workforce, and how to go about creating it.
STEM Gender Equity: Supporting Girls in STEM Without Diminishing Boys
Dr. Domonique Bulls, Designing STEM Equity Fellow for FIRST, shares what it means to collaborate on gender equity in STEM and why it’s important to ensure girls and women are provided with opportunities that meet their needs, interests, and experiences.
Young Changemakers on Creating the STEM Educators of Tomorrow
Mackenzie and Danielle, young leaders from FIRST Robotics Competition team “Kell Robotics,” make the case for how the FIRST community can play a huge role in educating and inspiring future STEM educators and filling the STEM teacher pipeline.
How to Help Students Take the Lead in Their Learning Through Robotics
Sherry Comer is the afterschool services director for Missouri’s sprawling, rural Camdenton R-III School District. She shares her strategies for using hands-on STEM programs to build kids into leaders who take charge of their own learning and gain skills to succeed in any field.
More Than Robots: Inspiring STEM Education and Life Skills via Robotics
Originally published on eSchool News, FIRST President Donald E. Bossi shares three lessons from FIRST programs and events that can be applied to any classroom to help young people grow a lifelong love of exploration.
Reaching Students with Special Needs Using Kinesthetic STEM Programs
When the STEM director for New York City’s special education district sought kinesthetic programs to reach students with special needs, she partnered with FIRST NYC to pilot FIRST LEGO League Jr. The program has proven to be a tremendous success, including an annual expo at the NY Hall of Science.
What 15,000 Kids Taught Me About Creativity
After spending time with FIRST LEGO League teams at the 2018 FIRST Championship, educational consultant Steven W. Anderson shares how authentic learning tasks, problem solving and collaboration allows students’ creativity to flourish.
The Whole Child Curriculum Hidden in STEM Project-Based Learning
STEM-oriented project-based learning can have a remarkable impact on developing a student’s skills and confidence – not just in STEM, but also in reading, writing, researching, and social-emotional learning. Fourth-grade teacher Jonathan Carpenter shares how FIRST LEGO League Jr. helped his students grow.
Meeting in the Middle with Distance Learning
A unique partnership in Alberta, Canada, provided distance learning opportunities grounded in STEM to remote First Nations communities. Frank McCallum, principal of the Alberta Distance Learning Centre, shares how distance learning bridges a barrier to STEM access.
How One Teacher Guided His Students to Give Back with a Design Thinking Challenge
Science teacher Peter Graven leads his Wisconsin school districts’ robotics program and encourages students to take on STEM-based projects that give back. Peter discusses the design thinking challenge his students undertook to build a robotic medical cart for a young girl with special needs. 
Global Teacher Prize Finalist Creates Change with Robotics
Teacher and FIRST mentor Glenn Lee, who co-founded Hawaii’s first robotics-related program, has been named a top ten finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, selected from over 30,000 entries, for his pioneering efforts to ignite passion for STEM in his students through robotics.
It’s Not Special Treatment: The Case for Acting to Ensure Equity
Nancy Boyer, Director of Research and Evaluation at FIRST, explores how to reduce gaps in STEM skills and fuel STEM interest by rethinking how we teach youth without access to opportunities that build a foundation for STEM.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers: K–12 and Beyond
Preparing a 21st century workforce requires educators to actively engage students to become critical thinkers and active learners through challenging-based learning. FIRST engages students to work in teams with industry professionals and accomplish a specific science-based or engineering challenge through the exploration of multiple technologies and methodologies, including programming languages, computer-aided design, mechanics, electronics, and internet research.
5 Ways to Spur Student Growth and Opportunity Through Hands-On STEM
Originally published on The Teaching Channel’s Tchers’ Voice blog, FIRST President Don Bossi shares easy-to-adapt strategies for implementing new STEM programs or curriculum and making the most of hands-on learning in the classroom.
Overcoming the STEM Opportunity Gap
Kids of all backgrounds, capabilities, and social circumstances are needed to address the world’s toughest challenges. FIRST President Donald E. Bossi explores how offering equitable opportunities and pathways can ensure all kids feel welcome, have a voice, and get an equal shot at finding success.
Marching for Science: We need STEM education and educated policymaking
On April 22, scientists and science supporters gathered at Sam Houston Park for the Houston March for Science. Just a mile away at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the 2017 FIRST Championship was underway.
How 3 Teachers Who Knew Nothing About Robotics Started a FIRST Program
When Maureen Reilly, fourth-grade teacher at PS 261 in Brooklyn, NY, decided to co-lead a FIRST® LEGO® League team at her school, she had no idea what to expect.