What to do at FIRST Events

Sometimes students who aren’t on a drive team don’t know what they should be doing at events.

How NOT to spend your time at FIRST events:

  • Hiding in your pit area
  • Playing video games
  • Avoiding contact with other teams

So what can you do at an event? Here are some ideas:

  • Meet new people: Have interesting conversations with people. Figure out questions that always get a good response, like “What was the biggest issue you had with your robot?”
  • Find out how other teams organize themselves: Team organization is difficult, and every team does it differently.
  • Scout Robots: look at other teams’ robots. Ask them how they work. Ask what problems they had. Ask what they want to do differently when they make their next improvements.
  • Write in your engineering notebook: Record observations of your robot’s performance and other robots’ performance, notes about cool things you saw other teams doing, team challenges and successes that you experienced, ideas for upcoming work sessions and events
  • Look at other teams’ engineering notebooks: you might be impressed or surprised by the cool stuff in some of them.
  • Invite spectators along for the experience: take spectators with you while you scout other teams and explain to them what you observe. This might allow you to recruit people as mentors for your teams or for other teams.
  • Thank volunteers in all roles: people will be more likely to help again in the future if they feel appreciated.
  • Explain the rules of the game to spectators: Most people are not familiar with the game, and they will have more fun if they know a bit about the game.
  • Take on roles that you’re not comfortable with: For example, if you are uncomfortable talking to other people, find reasons to do it. If you are uncomfortable with technical roles, find a way to do something with the robot.
  • Make your pit table into an exhibit that showcases your team: This will cause people to visit you and have interesting conversations, and it will help more people get interested in supporting FIRST.
  • Take pictures: team pictures, field pictures, robot pictures, etc. These will be handy for making marketing materials later.
  • Social Media Live Updates: Update your fans and let them know beforehand that you will be doing so.
  • Help other teams: If a team is struggling with a technical issue or needs to find a spare part, you might be able to help! This is an aspect of FIRST that you will find super rewarding if you try it.
  • Cheer loudly for your team and for other teams: Even if you aren’t competing in this match, pick a team and cheer for them. It makes some people really happy when you cheer for their team.
  • Dress wildly: It is normal to dress colorfully at FIRST events.

What else does your team do at FIRST events?