Frequently Asked Questions

What equipment is used in the FIRST Global Competition?

FIRST Global teams will each be provided with a self-contained educational robotics kit that includes all needed mechanical, electrical, and software components. The build set is designed to be usable by both beginner and experienced teams.

The equipment is divided into a “build component” and a “programming component.” Some of the build components include brackets, extrusions, fastening hardware, hardware adaptors, bearings, wheels of different sizes, gears, pulleys, motors, servos, and sprockets. All parts can be fastened together with parts inside of the kit and do not require additional connective materials.

Some of the programming component options include Android Studios suite (which allows coding in Java), along with a visual programming block language that is for beginners.

For a first-hand look at the FIRST Global robotics kit, you can view our instruction manuals or introductory videos.

When can I build my robot for the FIRST Global Challenge 2017?

FIRST Global Challenge participants will begin building their robot after the robot kit is shipped in the first two weeks of March, 2017. Teams are welcome to continue building all the way until the team arrives in Washington, DC for the competition on July 13, 2017.

When and where will the 2017 FIRST Global robotics game take place?

The 2017 FIRST Global robotics game will be held at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Teams will arrive on Friday, July 14 for check-in. Robot inspections will take place on July 15, and practice rounds will take place on July 15 and 16. The opening ceremony is in the early evening of July 16, and the two days of FIRST Global gameplay are July 17 and 18. The closing and award ceremony is in the early evening of July 18.

What are the Grand Challenges for Engineering and how do they relate to FIRST Global?

The Grand Challenges for Engineering are the 14 most pressing engineering challenges facing the world as identified by the US National Academy of Engineering, UK Royal Academy of Engineering, and Chinese Academy of Engineering. The challenges range from finding solutions to energy and education to medicine and cyberspace. The game design for the FIRST Global robotics game will draw thematic inspiration from a different Grand Challenge every year, beginning with providing access to clean water in 2017.

What is the FIRST Global Challenge 2017 game design?

FIRST Global participants will compete in randomly assigned three-team alliances during each round of play. Individual games will have two alliances facing each other at a time, for a total of six teams on the field. Teams will compete on a field (inside Constitution Hall) that is approximately 6 meters long by 4 meters wide, and will need to complete objectives that can best be accomplished if robots within an alliance work together. The official game design manual will be provided when the robot kit is shipped during the first two weeks of March. More details regarding the game design can be found on the FIRST Global Game Design page.

I am a member of a FIRST Global team. Where can I get help or advice when building my robot?

You are welcome to visit the Robot Questions page of the FIRST Global website, where you will be connected to the Global STEM Corps (GSC) – a vast volunteer network ready to serve you. You will be able to ask our STEM activists your mechanical, electrical, programming and other robot related questions 24/7.

Teams may choose to work with a qualified volunteer(s) on a long-term basis. This mentor(s) will be available to work with you on a prearranged schedule that you both find convenient. You can submit a request for a long-term mentor(s) on the Robot Questions page of the website.

How do I participate in the FIRST Global Competition?

FIRST Global’s mission is to inspire the youth of the world to pursue careers in STEM so that they can become future leaders in resolving our world’s technological challenges and to teach them the value of collaborating with others to reach their goals. To achieve these goals, FIRST Global invites each country to send one team to its “olympics”-style event, a choice that each nation makes in its own way. For the inaugural 2017 FIRST Global Challenge, many teams are attending at the recommendation of various non-profits, governments, and STEM focused organizations in different nations around the world. If you do not see your country on our official list of participating nations, please contact Liz Twigg at Following the conclusion of the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge this July in Washington, DC, an overview for the selection processes for the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge will be made available.

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in becoming involved in FIRST Global as either a international robotic mentor or at the game as an on-site volunteer, there are two great ways you can get involved:

(1) The Global STEM Corps (GSC) is an international group of STEM activists dedicated to working directly with a team from another country. Their active mentorship will bring inspiration to regions of the world that are preparing to step onto the stage of international robotics. People with all types of skills sets can make a difference in the following two initiatives.

  1. Create an International Partnership: Bring the excitement of STEM on a personal level by becoming the international partner of a team. Fill in some basic information about yourself or your organization on the GSC website and our organizers will make you the official partner of a nation’s team taking part in the FIRST Global Challenge. After receiving your partner team’s information, you will be able to virtually mentor this team through video, email and other internet tools.
  2. Serve on the Robot Hotline: In order to serve all 100+ attending nations, a 24/7 internet hotline will be set up for teams around the world to get instant robotics assistance. We are looking for volunteers of all skill types to devote some of their time on a consistent schedule online to work with teams inquiring in from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

If you are interested in becoming a GSC Mentor or learning more about the program, please visit the Global STEM Corps home page.

(2) The second way you can get involved is as a volunteer at the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge in Washington, DC this July. Volunteers are welcome to serve in a multitude of different roles, and these positions are available for people with many different talents and experience levels.

Those interested in being an integral part of the historic FIRST Global robotics game at Constitution Hall are encouraged to visit the FIRST Global 2017 Event Volunteer page to learn more.

Background checks are required for all volunteer positions, including the Global STEM Corps. They are paid for by FIRST Global.

Can I attend the event as a spectator?

Yes! The event will be open to the public free of charge from July 16 through July 18, 2017 at Constitution Hall – located across the street from the White House in Washington, DC. Volunteers will be given priority for event access, and attendance information for the general public will be posted prior to the opening of the event. If you have any questions about attending, you can reach out to for more information.

Where do the different FIRST Global teams come from?

FIRST Global participants represent people from all corners of the planet. To see if one of the 100-plus teams participating this year is from your home country, you can check out the official participation map, which provides links to each team’s individual profile page. Each of these pages include team photos and biographical information.

How many individuals are on a team?

Each team must consist of between three and seven students, ages 15 to 18 years old, along with one adult technical mentor/coach. This group forms the official team. Note that there is no limit to the number of team members or adult technical mentors/coaches who can work on the robot at home. However, official credentials will only be issued to a maximum of seven student competitors and one adult technical mentor/coach for the event. There can be others who travel to Washington, DC, and they certainly will enjoy full access to the event as spectators. For any special requests or extenuating circumstances, please contact Liz Twigg at

How do I secure passports for members of my team?

You can view a chart that provides passport and visa information we have found for each country. We try to keep it as up to date as possible to help teams with their planning process. However, our chart is NOT an official source so you MUST still check with your country’s own passport authority for accurate passport information, and the United States Embassy in your country for exact Visa information. Be advised that FIRST Global cannot be responsible for any errors caused by relying just on our assistance chart, as you need to verify official sources in your own country to be sure.

Do I need to secure Visas for members of my team?

Unless you are from a county that is included in the United States’ Visa Waiver Program, you will be required to secure visas for every member of your team. If you are from a country that is included in the Visa Waiver Program, you may still be required to secure a visa to travel for a number of reasons. Therefore, you must still check with the United States Embassy located in your country to be sure. This chart shows passport and visa information we have been able to find for each country. The chart is NOT an official source so you MUST still check with your country’s own passport authority for accurate passport information, and the United States Embassy in your country for exact Visa information. Be advised that FIRST Global cannot be responsible for any errors caused by relying just on our assistance chart, as you need to verify official sources in your own country to be sure.

How do participating teams get to Constitution Hall?

The majority of teams will be staying at the George Washington University, Foggy Bottom campus – which is about two blocks  from Constitution Hall. You can walk between the two locations in less than 10 minutes. The remaining teams will be staying at the American University, and there will be a bus to shuttle teams to Constitution Hall in the morning and back to The American University in the afternoon/evening.

How do meals work?

Teams will have lodging accommodations at George Washington University and American University, both of which have meal plans available. Once all teams have registered on the website, their numbers and lodging locations will be assessed for both price and ease of meal availability.  We will then provide the best options for meals, both at the Universities and Constitution Hall where the FIRST Global Challenge will be conducted.

What is provided in the team lodging rooms?

Items that will be provided with the room include: a bed (frame and mattress), linens (pillows, pillowcases, sheets, blankets, towels), wardrobe/closet, and internet. Items team members should consider bringing include: power adapters, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and an umbrella.

What if I have an interesting photo/video/story I’d like featured on FIRST Global’s website or social media platforms?

If you have any photos, videos, or stories you would like to have featured on the FIRST Global website or social media platforms, please contact

What if I have a problem accessing the FIRST Global website or other digital content?

If you have trouble accessing any part of the website, please email

Can I get more than one robot kit?

Yes, with arrangements made to pay for the costs of the robot kit and its shipping.

How do I register my team for the FIRST Global Challenge?

Once your team is confirmed as attending, the official team mentor will be emailed a link and a team access code for registration. The mentor may allow the team members to access the registration after the mentor has logged in.