Welcome to Inspire, a blog from FIRST.

After years of inspiring young people, as well as the adults who work with them, we decided it was time to share some of the things that inspire us.

Learn more about Inspire.

The Power of Collaboration to Lead to Deeper Learning

Feb 28, 2017 By Jenny Pieratt, PhD, founder and President, CraftED

One of the many reasons I love PBL (project based learning) is that it provides so many opportunities for students to develop skills they need to be successful in life.

The Playful Side of STEM

Feb 22, 2017 By Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, Associate Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, where she directs the Playful Learning Lab

“Stop playing around and get to work!” 

Sound familiar? I suspect that if you are a parent or a teacher this is a phrase you’ve said, or been tempted to say, on a few occasions.

STEM Outreach: How Are We Changing the Conversation?

Feb 08, 2017 By Seabright McCabe, Contributor, SWE (Society of Women Engineers)

Attracting and retaining more girls and young women to STEM fields takes the support of parents, teachers, mentors, role models, and professional organizations, with each playing a significant role. From initiatives such as SWENext and FIRST® to grassroots virtual mentoring programs and revolutionizing the way math is taught, the conversation continues.

Teaching Computer Programming: Get Ready-Set-Create!

To cement learning, allow students to use skills to solve real-world coding challenges

Jan 18, 2017 by Drew McConnell, Manager of Digital Learning, FIRST

To cement learning, allow students to use skills to solve real-world coding challenges.

Creating Opportunities to Elevate Girls in STEM

Dec 13, 2016 By Shelley Henderson, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at FIRST


There is a long list of initiatives to grow students’ interest and proficiency in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) fields, which is good news for all kids. But in terms of recruitment, confidence building, and the availability of relevant role models, there is still a gap when it comes to girls.

Are You Teaching the First Global Language? We’re here to help

Dec 07, 2016 by FIRST Staff

Did you know that only 33 states allow students to count computer science course toward high school graduation? And although 90 percent of parents want their child to study computer science, only 40 percent of schools teach it.

2 Simple Ways to Promote Innovative Thinking

Nov 16, 2016 by Urvi Shah, CEO and founder of Strategic EdTech LLC, and the Director of Educational Technology and Innovation at a private K-12 school in the Washington, DC area

The education system maintains a structure that is not conducive for innovative thinking and creation. Namely, structured time blocks of separate subject matter delivery does not allow for constructivist learning as well as integrative and design thinking. Even though we cannot blow up and rebuild the existing educational structures in the immediate, we still can use simple hacks to promote innovation in our classrooms.

Where STEM Skills and Soft Skills Meet

Oct 24, 2016 by Michelle Unser, STEM Outreach Lead, Caterpillar Inc.

Last week, our internal communications team got a frantic request for help, from an engineer who has to give a presentation at an upcoming conference but is terrified of public speaking. (Requests like this—and others related to writing—come in fairly often.) The team provided training for him, of course, but the situation made me think that if he’d been exposed to environments when he was younger that had helped him develop public speaking skills, he wouldn’t be panicking today.

Creativity = Learning

Sep 16, 2016 By Kim Wierman, Director, FIRST LEGO® League & FIRST LEGO® League Jr.

When a student’s education is inhibited by the constructs of lectured learning, their creativity suffers. Creativity lends itself to confidence and spontaneity, both crucial elements for a child’s future success.

To groom STEM students, hone their soft skills

Sep 07, 2016 By Sarah Stray, Innovation Awards Manager, FIRST

As schools warm up to new possibilities like robotics competitions, it's hard to deny the potential for STEM to teach teamwork and collaboration to a generation that will need it.