FIRST Place (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an innovative educational facility supporting inventor/entrepreneur Dean Kamen's national program to create interest in science and math by engaging young people in the world of engineering and robotics.
FIRST Senior Robotics Competition began in 1999, when 274 high school teams, mentored by local engineering and technology firms, each created a robot in 6 weeks. The competition is now international in scope, with over 1500 teams competing.
FIRST Place was created as a facility to provide teachers and students with an environment for exploring concepts of math, science, and technology through robotics. They offer STEM programs for youth, calling upon engineers, scientists and technology specialists to serve as mentors.
With their skill in providing innovative, interactive programs, FIRST and its staff of educators collaborate with University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College to develop space and Earth science curricula for pre-service teachers.
Teaching our Teachers
NHSGC support is used to offer seminars, professional development workshops, and on-site consultation for New Hampshire school teachers and pre-service teachers, particularly science educators. UNH and Dartmouth College scientists and science educators are included as guest instructors.
These college level courses incorporate concepts and processes that cross many scientific disciplines, and are selected specifically for elementary school teachers. The course material reflects national/state standards and demonstrates methods of teaching and assessing elementary school students.
Their teaching method: content placed in context—using electromagnetism to build a motor to power something useful to society, building a robot to help with city infrastructure like painting lines on highways, or developing robotic ways of removing toxic waste.
NASA-funded educational materials are used and given to the students whenever possible, and occasionally the staff include demonstrations developed at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.