FIRST ("For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology") was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway human transport. FIRST was founded to help create the next generation of scientists, inventors, and engineers by providing high school students with challenges that foster an interest and develop skills in engineering, mathematics, and science. In addition, by having students work in teams, FIRST helps build self-confidence as well as teamwork and leadership skills. Each year, FIRST develops a robotics challenge that teams of students, mentored by faculty and community participants, work to solve. Teams design and build a robot to tackle specific elements of each year's challenge and then compete against robots and teams, first in regional competitions and then in the world championship in St. Louis. To simulate real world engineering challenges, student teams are given six to eight weeks in which to build a robot that can succeed in a competitive environment. During the build season, students work through all the steps of the design and building process by brainstorming, planning, and designing, prototyping, testing, fabricating, assembling and constantly improving their designs. Teams also work on the business side of the venture by creating and maintaining budgets, organizing fundraising, and developing promotional materials. Finally, in addition to all the work directly linked to creating the robot and funding the team, FIRST promotes both community involvement and "gracious professionalism." While everyone loves to win, FIRST is not about winning in the traditional sense. Winning in FIRST is linked to continuing the vision of its founder: to provide inspiration and recognition of the value of science and technology. Teams are expected to mentor new teams and to participate in community events which promote science and technology. They are also expected to be good sports and to help team members and other teams, especially at competitions when teams help their competitors compete by sharing tools, parts, and experience.
About the LigerBots
The LigerBots is a FIRST FRC robotics team composed of members from both Newton North and Newton South High Schools in Massachusetts. Students participating in LigerBots design and build a complex robot that plays a game, which is different each year. They have about eight weeks to design, build, and program their machine so that team members can control it on the playing field. At competitions, teams are grouped in alliances of three teams, each alliance working cooperatively to outscore another alliance. In past years, we have designed robots to play Frisbee and basketball, stack packing crates, and put totes on large balance beams. You can see the 2020 robot challenge at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmiYWTmFRVE. In addition, the team is run like a small business. The team not only builds a robot, but students have to build a brand, create a business plan, organize and volunteer at community events, build teamwork skills, find sponsors and mentors, raise funds, and of course, still complete their homework! The LigerBots is a student-run team, guided by volunteer adult mentors expert in various fields, and by team veterans. In addition to the design and construction of the robot, LigerBots students are expected to take responsibility for all other aspects of the team, including fundraising, marketing, and publicity. Students on the LigerBots are also actively involved in community outreach and service. Ultimately, the goal of FIRST, and therefore, the goal of the LigerBots, is to take those principles in excellence of STEM education and spread them into the community at every level.
Student Activities
Designing, building and operating the robot are all challenging opportunities, but there is much more to our team than the robot. We need students who are willing to work on:
  • Business & marketing
  • Fundraising
  • Publicity
  • Graphic Design
  • Accounting
  • Web design and management
  • Mechanical & electrical design
  • Construction
  • Programming
  • CAD drawing
Other Team Partners
A selection of some of the other FIRST teams we have made friends with, helped, or been helped by over the years: Stormgears FRC (5422) In 2018, the Stormgears graciously allowed us, and other teams, to use their practice field on many occasions. This was tremendously helpful in developing our autonomous routines, plus allowed for more realistic driver practice. Again in 2020, the Stormgears held a pre-season scrimmage for 6 teams which helped us practice before our first real competition. They also generously allowed us to spend an entire weekend using their field to work on our control code and autonomous routines. NUTRONS (125) Team 125, The Nutrons, is a team organized by Northeastern University, and includes members from four local high schools. Prior to our rookie year, they loaned us an old robot that we refit in time for the Beantown Blitz. Cybergnomes (2013) The Cybergnomes are a FRC team from Stayner, Ontario. In 2010, they gave us an award for "Best Mascot". The LigerBots then hosted the team during the 2011, 2012, and 2013 competitions in Boston. In 2018, our pits were across from each other on the Daly Field at the Detroit World Championships. We enjoyed renewing our friendship and competing with and against them. Rosie Robotics (839) Rosie Robotics has helped the LigerBots (and countless other teams) many times. When we found that the motor that we used for our arm wasn't allowed in Logo Motion, they gave us a legal motor, mounting hardware, and advice. LigerCubs (FLL 2437) The FLL team "The LigerCubs" were coached by former LigerBots coach Deb Lund. After helping the LigerBots create many Newton FLL teams, she left the LigerBots to start her own FLL team. The LigerBots are proud to have inspired Coach Lund and her children. LigerPandas (FTC 4377) The LigerPandas were an FTC team created and sponsored by the LigerBots in 2011, 2012 and 2013. They were made up of Chinese foreign exchange students and a number of LigerBot volunteers; this made them the first FIRST team ever to be created for foreign exchange students.