News
Posted on the 1st September 2020
Written by Patrice

Bring on 2020-21 – new provision, new tech, new opportunities!

We have news! No, there are no FIRST baby bots on the horizon, although technically… kind of? More on that later… Registration for next season is NOW OPEN! That’s right, head over to register for FIRST Tech Challenge UK season 2020-21 and secure your team’s spot.

Here’s what’s in store…

New season, new challenges

We’d be silly to think schools are going back to normal in September. We know teachers are working hard to make the Autumn term work for students, so are doing the same at HQ. To help teams focus on finding their groove at school – without missing out on this year’s challenge – we’ve switched up our timeline for everyone to ease in at their own pace with no pressure.

Virtual pre-season

From September to December, before jumping into the robot build, teams get a chance to build their foundational skills. Working in-person or remotely, they’ll assemble a diverse team, fundraise, engage with the community and develop essential programming skills. We’ll help you make the most of the pre-season with our new tech ‘babies’ at your own pace:

  • Makerspace 2.0 – Access plenty of new educational guides and resources available on our upgraded e-learning platform, redesigned so content is a doddle to find.
  • Virtual Simulator – Get your whole team to boss their programming skills before building a robot. Jump into our 8-week programming course using our online virtual simulator from the classroom or at home.
  • Engineering Documentation – Collaboratively record and share your team’s steps to robot victory using our online documentation platform and share useful tips and experiences with the community.

Excited about the new tech? Learn more about this year’s educational tools.

New year, new build

Kickstart your robot build in January as we officially launch the UK season a tad later than usual. Make a splash with your team and get your game faces on as we release new build content on Makerspace for all levels. Experienced teams may want to stretch their engineering muscles, or new teams may need a helping hand to stay focused – whatever support you need, our KS3+4 curriculum-mapped content is here to help your team succeed.

But don’t just rely on our Makerspace library, reach out and connect with teams across the UK and worldwide, all eager to collaborate and help other teams along the way. The game changes each season, so pay close attention to the rules and create a strong strategy that will give your robot the winning edge.

Quality industry encounters

We’re always exploring ways to connect industry talent with our teams and after immense community feedback, we’re driving more industry encounters throughout the season beyond our events. To drive those Gatsby Benchmarks, not only will we have a wider pool of mentors to support remotely, we’re also launching a live video series in collaboration with our industry partners. Teams will have plenty of opportunities to engage with our diverse industry role models as they share their experience, knowledge, and answer your burning questions. These pros work daily in similar roles to your team members so make the most of their stories and expertise.

Competitions with a new face

It’s not every day that we have the challenge of hosting events amongst a pandemic. We’ve made the decision to shift our events into the summer term to give our teams a fighting chance at acing the competition and winning awards while balancing many unknowns. We’re continuing to adjust our plan as Government guidelines evolve and will release our events programme later in September when things are hopefully a little less ‘blah’.

Reaching the ‘Ultimate Goal’

Let’s not end on a down note, there’s a lot to be grateful for! Including this season’s new game teaser ‘Ultimate Goal’ and we’re definitely feeling a sporty vibe with this one. Any guesses on what the new game will be? Send us your predictions on Twitter or Instagram.  The official game intro will be released on 11 September so follow us for updates.

Join the challenge!

We’ve slashed reg fees in half this season to reflect our online provision and to increase the programme’s accessibility while schools are facing significant challenges. Register your team now for only £49. If you’re a new team from a non-fee paying school, apply for a provision bursary which covers our robotics kit and all educational provision worth £799. However, be quick! Bursaries and spaces are limited this season to ensure we can provide our unrivalled support.

If everything we’ve mentioned hasn’t excited you enough, check out our provision, challenge and funding pages packed with useful info. You can always hit us up too at hello@firstuk.org, we’re a friendly bunch.

That’s it from us! We can’t wait to see you and your team next season.

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