Teams of junior high and high school students will square off against one another at the FIRST® Tech Challenge 2019 State Championship by Weber State University’s College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology (EAST), Feb. 23 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Swenson Gymnasium.

FIRST Tech Challenge is a robotics competition for students in grades 7-12. Teams are responsible for designing, building and programming robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge.

FIRST Tech Challenges uses an alliance format for their competition. Teams are allied with other teams to score points when their robots perform certain tasks. Over the course of the day, teams switch alliances and complete with and against one another. This format encourages both collaboration and competition.

This year, 36 teams from Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming will compete for two spots at the FIRST World Championship in Houston, Texas. The theme, “Rover Ruckus,” is a nod to the use of autonomous robots being used to explore other planets.

In addition to learning robotics principles, students who participate in the competition will learn skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, fair competition and respect.

“We know that 75 percent of FIRST alumni are in a STEM field as a student or professional,” said Dana Dellinger, Center for Technology Outreach director. “This shows that participation in programs such as the FIRST Tech Challenge can benefit our Utah workforce by encouraging students to explore the STEM fields.”