Contact Us

University of idaho Extension Robotics

Phone: (208) 885-6299
Fax: (208) 885-4637

Mailing Address:
4-H Youth Development
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3015
Moscow, ID 83844-3015

Idaho FIRST Tech Challenge 2013 Winning Alliance with their medals and trophies.

FTC Tournaments

In FIRST Tech Challenge® (FTC) students (ages 12-18) learn Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics skills through a hands-on robotics challenge. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance against other teams. Over the course of the season students will learn the engineering design process, how to keep an engineering notebook, computer programming, and computer assisted design (CAD). They will also gain skills in communication, public speaking, and team work.  

Required Equipment

FTC teams are challenged to build a robot using a LEGO® Mindstorm processor and Tetrix or Matrix robotics systems with a Samantha wifi module, which are reusable from year-to-year. Additionally, teams may use select raw materials as outlined in the FTC game manual. FTC robots may be programmed with either Labview for LEGO Mindstorms or RobotC. Many teams also utilize available CAD software to design aspects of their robot. Over the season teams document their engineering journey in their engineering notebook, which will be reviewed by judges at tournaments.  

Gracious Professionalism®

Gracious Professionalism® is part of the ethos of FIRST. It is central to all of the FIRST programs and a requirement for all of the judged awards in FTC. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process.  

Coaches and Mentors

Coaches and Mentors facilitate learning opportunities for their team, but do not need to be an expert in robotics, engineering, programming, or presentations. Coaches and Mentors demonstrate gracious professionalism at all times. They help the team to have productive meetings, complete tasks in a timely manner, and provide a grounding point for their teams.  

The Season

In Idaho, FIRST Tech Challenge Teams organize in the summer and fall.  After the game is announced in September, teams begin their programming and robot design. They test and modify their robot all year. They can participate in scrimmages late in the fall where they meet with other local teams to practice the game together and share ideas and game strategy. In February all Idaho teams are invited to the Idaho FTC Championship Tournament at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. After the championship some teams will be invited to attend the West Super Regional in March. From there, teams can earn an invitation to the World Championships held in St. Louis, MI in April. At World Championships FIRST teams from around the world compete and form alliances. Teams are encouraged to continue to meet in the off-season and summer months to improve their engineering and programming skill and to share what they have learned with others in their community.


All high school juniors and seniors who participate in FIRST programs (including FTC) qualify to apply for university scholarships. This year, FIRST has collected over $18 Million in the form of nearly 900, primarily merit-based, individual scholarships for students to attend college. Some scholarships are for specific institutions or courses of study, but many are open to any course of study. Some universities acknowledge the value of FIRST participation and are considering it on college entrance materials in preference of advanced placement courses. Many FIRST sponsoring companies seek out FIRST alumni when offering internships.