Its way more than building robots! FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots. Teams can be up to 15 students and students can be in grades 7-12. Teams can be school-based, non-profit based, Boy/Girl Scouts, 4H Clubs, or more!

Student Leadership Board

We invite 10th, 11th or 12th graders to be a part of the Iowa FIRST Student Leadership Board.

FIRST creates a powerful mentorship relationships between young people and adult mentor and coaches. Successful mentors and coaches are well organized and follow the guidelines by FIRST. 

FIRST wants every FIRST Tech Challenge team to be successful and for the season to be as smooth as possible. Below are some resources to help teams be successful:

FIRST Volunteers energize the future! As a part  of FIRST, volunteers empower students to embrace discovery, innovation and collaboration. They work side by side with FIRST teams to develop leadership and problem-solving skills and foster self-confidence.


FTC students

Event Information

The events are exciting and full of energy! Teams need to understand, the robot will never be 100% ready. Check out the "Preparing for an Event" and Engineering Portfolio pages.

FTC coaches

Volunteer Information

Volunteers make up 99% of the FIRST workforce. We seek technical and non-technical experts - there's a volunteer role suited to all interests.

Frequently Asked Questions

We take cancelling an event very seriously. We are all very familiar with winters in Iowa. For the complete cancelation policy, click here.

Once registered, a team joins a the FIRST Tech Challenge community. Coaches will begin receiving communications as well as a temporary team number.

For guidance, please view the step-by-step guide video (YouTube) to register a team with FIRST. Or, follow these guidelines

Directions on how to add or change a primary coach with FIRST.

Yes. All teams in Iowa need to register and pay am FTC-Iowa registration fee. 

It is important to note: the FIRST program registration fee stays at FIRST in New Hampshire. None of those fees support the local expenses FTC-Iowa incurs.

The FTC-Iowa registration fee is $275/team. We have a No Refund Policy. 

The link to register with FTC-Iowa is sent out to teams after they completed the FIRST registration.

For more information, including the other registration fees, please visit the FTC Iowa Registration page.

Throughout the FIRST Tech Challenge season, regular newsletters are sent out to coaches, students and volunteers. We encourage you to view the archive of the newsletters.

The FIRST Tech Challenge program is coordinated by staff and students at the University of Iowa College of Engineering. 

What is FIRST?

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989. FIRST gives students the opportunity to develop the "muscle between their ears" and to gain experiences that will affect their future. It is truly a "Sport-for-the-Mind". Students who participate in FIRST use and reflect Gracious Professionalism, get real-world application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts, and participate in an atmosphere that encourages team building, entrepreneurship and sportsmanship. Check out the other FIRST programs.

What is FIRST Tech Challenge?

FIRST Tech Challenge is designed for those who want to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams of students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year, and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors, and volunteers are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.

The Robot is Just the Vehicle

Although the object is to build a robot, students who participate in FIRST Tech Challenge learn so much more. Students learn about working in a team environment, effective communication skills, being able to fail and succeed at the same time, and competing fairly while being supportive of their competition. Students who participate in FIRST Tech Challenge are well-rounded citizens of the world.

What grades can participate in FIRST Tech Challenge?

FIRST Tech Challenge is considered a high school program, but if a middle school team has had several years of FIRST LEGO League  experiences, and is ready to move up to their next challenge, then FIRST Tech Challenge might be the right fit. Teams should be careful not to have a middle school student on a team with a upper-class high school student.

Current Season: Into The Deep, presented by RTX!

The rules and field design of new season will be released in September and the FIRST website will be the place to go to find the Game Manual. There is a registration fee to participate in FIRST Tech Challenge in Iowa. For more information, please visit this page.