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.

How One Teacher Founded a Whole New High School Inspired by FIRST

Sep 27, 2017 Interview by Robyn D. Shulman, founder and senior editor, EdNews Daily

Scott Heister, an engineering and physics teacher, has taught in the Ypsilanti, Michigan, community for the past 25 years and has mentored FIRST teams for 19 years. When his school district restructured a few years ago, Heister pushed for a new school built around principles of FIRST, inspired by the engagement he saw in his students during the robotics season.

How One Act of Kindness Changed Me

Sep 20, 2017 By Rhodes Conover, FIRST Alumnus; Student, Florida Polytechnic University

We had failed. As other teams celebrated their victories, our robot sat motionless on the playing field; each cheer from the crowd felt like salt in our wounds.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers: K–12 and Beyond

Aug 30, 2017 By Nancy Boyer, Director of Research & Evaluation, FIRST

The following article was originally published by the IEEE Computer Society in the July 2017 issue of Computer magazine as part of a special issue on challenge-based learning.

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.

How 3 Teachers Who Knew Nothing About Robotics Started a FIRST Program

Aug 23, 2017

The following article was originally published on We Are Teachers.

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.

This Season from a Freshman: On the Bus Home from FIRST Championship

May 11, 2017 by Ryan Mares, FIRST Team 93, NEW Apple Corps, Appleton, Wis.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Reddit. The author, a ninth-grade student from Wisconsin, shared his thoughts as he rode the bus home from FIRST Championship St. Louis.

Marching for Science: We need STEM education and educated policymaking

Apr 28, 2017 by FIRST Alum, Melody Tan

The following article was originally published on

On April 22, scientists and science supporters gathered at Sam Houston Park for the Houston March for Science.

Sparking Ideas: Inspiring Kids to Innovate

Mar 29, 2017 By Ashton Cofer

Ashton Cofer and his FIRST® LEGO® League team won the 2016 FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award for developing a process to convert Styrofoam waste into activated carbon, which can be used to purify water. Here, he writes about what inspires him and his teammates to innovate.

Adults Need Playtime, Too!

Mar 23, 2017 By Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, Associate Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, where she directs the Playful Learning Lab

Just like your students, finding activities you choose which allow you to find joy in the process is important. Take time to find that joy for yourself.

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.