Celebrate National STEM Day with FIRST Activities

Nov 08, 2021 By Libby Simpson, FIRST Education Director




three students build a robot


At FIRST, we take a transdisciplinary approach to STEM, which means we incorporate all the individual components of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – and ask our learners to use them all together towards solving a real-world problem. In addition to those four subject areas, other relevant topics are incorporated into the learning process to gain the knowledge they need to provide a solution. This project-based approach to learning allows learners to consider any problem they may face and enable adults to make space for students to do the work of education. Annually we develop a singular topic in STEM that our programs will present to students, and this year our STEM theme is transportation. While we had no way of knowing when we chose this topic that we would have significant global supply chain challenges during this year, this real-world context provides a point of relevance for students, making the problems they’re solving all the more meaningful. Our students become better prepared for the 21st -century challenges by understanding "why" they need to know and "how" the knowledge connects disciplines.

This National STEM Day, I'd like to provide some examples of multifaceted FIRST activities that, when used, grow student content knowledge and learning through STEM.

FIRST Teams or Class Packs

The FIRST progression of programs uses project-based learning pedagogy and real-world problem-solving. Our program suite is accessible through informal learning with our competitive teams or as part of formal learning with our Class Pack offerings. In both instances, students gain knowledge and skills by working towards a common goal, investigating solutions, and engaging in critical thinking to answer complex questions or solve problems. FIRST content is designed to meet specific STEM learning objectives through interdisciplinary learning principles. This design allows FIRST content to be embedded or integrated to promote learning in a variety of contexts.  

Providing relevant and real-world project-based learning opportunities increases student interest and shifts the responsibility for learning gains to the student as they work to acquire the knowledge to solve the problem. Students in FIRST programs persist in having greater motivation to struggle through complex concepts, failing forward, being comfortable with problem-solving, building a growth mindset, and increasing content retention due to rigorous and relevant activities during learning. The connection to real-world problems of various topics for students to solve with mentor guidance creates numerous opportunities for career exploration and technical skill-building.

FIRST Kahoot!

The FIRST and Kahoot! partnership leverages the fun platform of Kahoot! with great content from FIRST. We have an exciting collection of learning games such as FIRST Core Values, Robotics, and Computational Thinking. Our newest Kahoot! are all about transportation. Special for National STEM Day, these Kahoot! games provide even our youngest learners with a fun and engaging way to learn about transportation. We will launch new content every few months, so be sure to subscribe to the FIRST community on our Kahoot! page to stay tuned for updates.

FIRST at Home

FIRST at Home is your source to learn about opportunities for STEM skill development, FIRST supported activities and unique events in the FIRST community. This free resource offers a flexible learning series that covers a variety of STEM topics for all ages. Our curriculum uses our FIRST Theory of Learning to engage students in fun, hands-on, interdisciplinary activities. These activities are easy to implement with limited resources and can either stand-alone or great with other STEM curriculum or activities. The lessons are engaging and fun for learners of all ages.

At FIRST, we have a variety of STEM resources for any learning environment, and these resources can be implemented in flexible or routine program structures. Through our competitive season of programs, Class Pack curriculum, FIRST @ Home activity series, or Kahoot! games, these evidence-based program options are designed to develop holistic skills, innovative thinking, and awareness of career pathways for the future.

Download FIRST @ Home Activities

If you have an inspiring story or piece of wisdom that you’ve picked up through your experiences in the FIRST community, please reach out to us at and inquire about becoming a guest contributor for Inspire.

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