Event A-Z Guide

2018 FIRST® Championship Houston

ADA Spectator Seating

ADA Seating will be available at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park. Specific seating areas will be indicated on site.

Admission

There is no fee to attend the 2018 FIRST Championship; the event and Pits are open to the public! Be sure to visit all the FIRST programs.

  • The FIRST® Robotics Competition Championship is located at George R. Brown Convention Center on Level 1, Halls B – E
  • The FIRST® Tech Challenge World Championship is located on Level 1, Hall A. 
  • FIRST® LEGO® League World Festival and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. World Festival Expo are at George R. Brown Convention Center on Level 3.
  • FIRST Championship Welcome Party is located on the Discovery Green.
  • FIRST Championship Closing Celebration will be held at Minute Maid Park.

Ceremonies and National Anthems

Teams are expected to attend the Awards and Closing Celebration to show appreciation for speakers, sponsors and teams. These events enhance the meaning of FIRST. Please graciously observe the playing of all anthems by being respectful and remaining silent for all countries in attendance.

Welcome Party in the Park presented by NRG

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The FIRST Championship Houston Welcome Party, presented by NRG, is a festival environment with fun for all ages. Featuring musical acts and activities throughout, don’t miss this Championship kick off experience! The Welcome Party is located in Discovery Green Park directly across from the George R. Brown Convention Center. Remember to bring your badge.

Throughout the park:

  • Musical Acts
  • Digital Graffiti Walls
  • Giant Lite Brite
  • Giant Board and Family Games
  • Photo Booths
  • Balloon Artists
  • Face Painting
  • Silent Disco

FIRST Championship Closing Celebration

Saturday, April 21, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 4:30 p.m.)

The FIRST Championship Houston Closing Celebration at Minute Maid Park will combine all closing activities into one celebration! Final matches with the top two alliances for FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge will be played, top awards for all programs will be given out with finale entertainment spread throughout the event.

The following awards will be presented at the Closing Celebration:

  • FIRST Robotics Competition Chairman’s Award
  • FIRST Tech Challenge Inspire Award
  • FIRST LEGO League Champions Award
  • Volunteer of the Year Award for all Programs
  • FIRST Robotics Competition Finalist and Winners
  • FIRST Tech Challenge Finalist and Winners
  • Special Presentation of the Dean’s List Winners and Make it Loud Award

You must have your badge to get in the park. Bringing bags is discouraged. There will be bag checks by security; more security information here.

Please check the FIRST Championship App for the full schedule and times. 

Concessions

There are concessions located within the convention center, with many food options around the George R. Brown Convention Center as well. Local food trucks will be around Discovery Green. View a list of nearby restaurants here.

Consent and Release Forms and Team Roster

All participating team members and volunteers must complete a current season FIRST Consent and Release form.

FIRST Championship Alumni and Career Experience brought to you by ABB, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, and Two Sigma

The Alumni and Career experience at FIRST Championship is for participants, alumni, parents, and mentors to understand and explore the opportunities that are available to FIRST Alumni after high school.

Activities include:

FIRST Alumni Mixer presented by Lockheed Martin, ABB and Two Sigma
Thursday, April 19, 2018, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
George R. Brown Convention Center – 1st Floor Concourse


An opportunity for FIRST Alumni to connect with fellow FIRST Alumni from around the world.
Be sure to identify yourself as a FIRST Alum when you register for badges at Championship.

Please visit FIRST Championship Houston Alumni and Career for more details and additional Alumni activities.

FIRST Championship App

Use the FIRST Championship App for interactive maps, personalized schedules, activities, team info, volunteer info, alerts, and more.

FIRST Championship Conferences

The FIRST Championship Conference will be held Wednesday- Friday. The conference includes sessions and workshops on topics of interest to all members of the FIRST community in the following conference tracks:

  • Technical Resources (designing, building, programming or other technical application)
  • Mentor/Coach Resources (supports for team mentors and coaches to improve the team experience)
  • Education (implementing FIRST programs in the classroom or school setting)
  • Diversity and Inclusion (cultivating talent and promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the social identity spectrum)
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship (product development, product marketing, design thinking, creating a team culture of innovation, start-up success stories, business planning, idea pitching, etc.)
  • Scholarship and Alumni (career preparation and job opportunities, staying involved with FIRST after graduation, alumni organizations, alumni success stories, etc.)
For a full list of conferences please use the app.

FIRST Innovation Faire

  • Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The Innovation Faire is a face to face engagement with FIRST sponsors and supporters with the student community in the Grand Ballroom. There will also be a college scholarship row, and other interactive exhibits. The students will take away a further understanding of why each sponsor uses STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) as the basis for their companies’ existence, and how they can be a part of it in the future.

Scholarship Row

Thursday and Friday
Scholarship Row at the 2018 FIRST Championship Innovation Faire is a place for participants, parents and mentors to talk with representatives from some of the colleges, universities and organizations that make FIRST Scholarships available. This is an ideal opportunity for sophomores and juniors who are planning for college to talk first-hand to college representatives. Seniors can find out about scholarships that are still available for the coming fall, and for freshmen, it's never too early to start thinking about college!
In 2018, over $50 million in college scholarships are available to FIRST Participants from nearly 200 Scholarship Providers. For more information, please visit: http://www.firstchampionship.org.

Event Schedule

Please see the FIRST Championship app for the full list of events

FIRST Store

The FIRST Store is your on-site source for merchandise made exclusively for the FIRST #STEMsquad, including limited edition FIRST Championship must-haves. Get your FIRST gear now!

The FIRST Store is located on site on Level 1, outside Hall C and Level 3, Hall B3.

Hours of operation

Date:

Open:

Close:

Wednesday April 18, 2018

6:00 AM

6:00 PM

Thursday April 19, 2018

7:00 AM

6:00 PM

Friday April 20, 2018

7:00 AM

6:00 PM

Saturday April 21, 2018

6:30 PM

3:30 PM

FIRST LEGO League Jr.

FIRST LEGO League Jr. (grades K-4) – Elementary school kids are challenged to explore a scientific topic, then present what they learned with a Show Me poster and a powered LEGO model. Sixty teams will present their findings at the FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Festival Expo located in Ballrooms A – C, Level 3.

For program- specific information in Houston, see FIRST LEGO League Jr. Addendum

FIRST LEGO League

FIRST LEGO League (ages 9-16) – Elementary and middle school kids are judged on Core Values, Robot Design, and Project. All activities will be held in Hall B Level 3 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, where you can see 108 teams work on their robots and compete.

For program- specific information in Houston, see FIRST LEGO League Addendum

FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge (grades 7-12) – Middle and high school students compete on special playing fields with robots they have designed, programmed, and built themselves. One hundred and twenty-eight teams will compete in Hall A Level 1.

For program- specific information in Houston, see FIRST Tech Challenge Addendum

FIRST Robotics Competition

FIRST Robotics Competition (grades 9-12) - High school students from over 400 teams compete on special playing fields with robots they have designed, programmed, and built themselves. FIRST Robotics Competition Fields and pits (safety glasses provided and required) will be in the George R. Brown Convention Center Halls B – D, Level 1. Watch teams compete in this year’s robotics challenge on six playing fields.

For program- specific information in Houston, see FIRST Robotics Competition Addendum

Hall of Fame

Visit the Hall of Fame (HOF) booth, home of previous FIRST Robotics Competition Chairman’s Award Winners. The Chairman’s Award represents the spirit of FIRST, and remains FIRST Robotics Competition’s most prestigious award. The HOF booth will also have the Chairman’s Award Clock and Woodie Flowers Award on display for viewing. This is a great opportunity for you to interact with some of the top FIRST Robotics Competition teams and learn what it takes to become a HOF team!

Incident Reporting

Medical Incidents

FIRST requires that physical injuries and medical problems, however slight, be documented and reported to the party conducting the event or his or her designee and to FIRST Headquarters within 48 hours of the occurrence. Report of Medical Incident forms may be obtained at Pit Admin.

Safety Concerns

All persons on-site who are responsible for operating the event should be able to recognize threats to safety and be prepared to take prompt remedial action. Safety concerns and non-medical incidents should be dealt with as quickly as possible in whatever manner is most appropriate to ensure the safety of everyone at the event. FIRST requires that all safety concerns and non-medical incidents be reported to the party conducting the event and to FIRST Headquarters within 48 hours Non-Medical Incident forms may be found at Pit Admin.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found can be turned in/claimed at the Information Desk.

Mascots

Keep safety in mind. Make sure that mascot and team costumes are safe for the wearer as to vision and movement and are comfortable and cool enough to prevent fainting and dehydration. Mascots are not allowed on the playing field.

Mentor/Coach Breakfast Celebration

Friday, April 20th, 7:00 AM

George R Brown Convention Center, General Assembly Theater, Level 3

This is a cross-program event for all FIRST Mentors and Coaches and includes speakers and networking opportunities.

Parking

Parking is available around the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Pre-Order Lunches

Pre-order lunches are available on-site. Orders must be placed by April 13, 2108. Check out the menu here, and download the order form here.

Registration and Check-In

FIRST requires every Championship attendee to be registered and badged, including adult team mentors, youth team members, parents, family members, chaperones, etc. who are participating in the event.  Attendee registration grants access to participant-only activities and increases the security of the event.

We strongly encourage your team to complete attendee badging prior to your arrival in Houston, as this will expedite your team’s attendee badge collection.

Safety

All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times while in the Pit area.

Be aware of apparel and hair safety issues while working on your robot. Sandals, open-toed shoes, and Crocs are not allowed in the Pits, fields, or other team work areas. Wear relaxed, fun and appropriate clothing; remember, you represent your team and FIRST. Body paint in lieu of clothes is not appropriate. Bathing suits and other revealing clothes are not appropriate.

Safety Glasses

Safety Glasses are required to be worn by everyone while in the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge Pit Area. Safety Glasses are available for spectators at the major Pit Entrances for these programs, but teams should plan to bring their own.

Security

Be sure to keep valuable items with you at all times or placed in a lockable compartment in your Pit station. FIRST and the George R. Brown Convention Center do not guarantee security of personal items. We strongly recommend that you do not leave behind valuable items in your Pits at any time, such as personal computers, cell phones, cameras, etc. You can report any lost items to the Event Information Desk (see Lost and Found).

Remember, the Pits are open to the public. Please take proper security measures to protect any valuable items.

Shipping

The George R. Brown Convention Center cannot accept shipments directly. For robot shipping please refer to the program addendum.

Student Ambassadors

Guests are invited to take an in-depth tour of the Championship with our most knowledgeable tour guides, our students! Tours are available Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at both events. All tours are subject to availability. Please see the Student Ambassadors desk located near registration to set up a tour.

Transportation

Updates and Changes

The Championship App will have the latest information. Please check the app for any schedule or on-site updates.

Venues

The 2018 FIRST Championship Event is a multiple point campus, which will include five venues/spaces:

George R Brown Convention Center for FIRST LEGO League World Festival, FIRST LEGO League Jr. World Festival Expo, FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship, FIRST Robotics Competition Championship, conferences and select VIP events; which will feature the Innovation Faire including Scholarship Row. The George R. Brown convention center is located on Avenida de las Americas. For detailed directions, click here. Or, visit the venue site here: http://www.grbhouston.com/

Minute Maid Park for the finals for FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge along with the closing ceremonies. To Minute Maid Park from the Convention Center on foot:

  • Head northeast on Avenida De Las Americas toward Mc Kinney
  • Turn left onto Rusk St
  • Turn right onto Crawford St
  • Minute Maid Park will be on your left

Discovery Green will host the FIRST Championship Welcome Party sponsored by NRG and will welcome the FIRST community to Houston, TX.  The event will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 6:00pm-9:00pm.  There will be activities throughout the park for students of all ages to engage in – from mainstage acts, to activity booths and roving entertainment.  If you are hungry, stop by anyone of the many food trucks that will line the streets during the party.  Admission is free to all registered FIRST participants.  Please make sure to wear your event badge to gain access into the park.

The Marriott Marquis Hotel will host a range of meetings including the Dean’s List Lunch

The Hilton America’s Hotel will host a range of meetings and events

All of this will contribute to FIRST’s overall event goal of making a unique transformative experience to all teams, sponsors, volunteers, and supporters of FIRST in a fun and safe environment in the City of Houston.

Volunteers

Volunteers power FIRST! Our volunteers are the backbone of Championship. They help with everything from field set up to providing safety glasses and even judging.  Their support is integral in creating an inspiring FIRST Championship experience for all.

Interested in making animpact volunteering for the 2018 FIRST Championship? Register at www.firstinspires.org before the event or on site at Volunteer Registration. Check out the Volunteer Addendum for more details on the volunteer experience.

Volunteer Central

Volunteer Central is an area specifically designated for all 2018 FIRST Championship event volunteers to use the day of their shifts. Teams and spectators are not allowed in this area unless they are also registered as volunteers that day at the event. Volunteer Central is located on the 3rd floor and includes:

  • The Volunteer Café – located in Room 362, this is where meals are provided to volunteers on the day of their shift. Volunteers should register any dietary preferences in Experient before the event.
  • The Volunteer Lounge – located in Room 352, is a space where volunteers can get away from the crowd and relax during breaks. There are tables, chairs, board games, and laptops with internet available.
  • The Volunteer Office – located in Room 352, the office is the base for the Volunteer Resources Department staff during the event.

See the Volunteer Addendum for further information on Volunteer Central activities, menus, and events.

Volunteer Registration

Volunteer Registration is located on the 1st floor. All volunteers must go to Volunteer Registration before starting their shift to check in, receive their badge, important information, their volunteer gift and T-shirt. See the Volunteer Addendum for more information.

Volunteer Registration hours:

Date:

Opening:

Closing:

Tuesday April 17, 2018

7:00 am

6:00 pm

Wednesday April 18, 2018

6:00 am

8:00 pm

Thursday April 19, 2018

7:00 am

8:00 pm

Friday April 20, 2018

7:00 am

7:00 pm

Saturday April 21, 2018

7:00 am

5:00 pm

Volunteer Thank you

Many thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers who are giving their time and talent to inspire the next generation by making the 2018 FIRST Championship a success!

Volunteer - Thank you for being part of our story

Webcast

The Championship live stream will be available on the FIRST Championship website.

Wireless Networks

Free wireless internet access is available in the common areas of the George R. Brown Convention Center.  This access is not available on the Pit floor or in the playing field areas of the George R. Brown Convention Center – Level 1. 

Due to the wireless nature of FIRST control systems, wireless availability will be evaluated during the course of the event. Teams will not be allowed to set up their own wireless networks at the Championship. While we certainly appreciate the positive potential team- created wireless networks could represent, there is a chance such wireless networks could interfere with planned activities during the event.