FIRST® Senior Mentor of West Tennessee featured by FIRST® HQ

On February 28, 2021, FIRST® was also celebrating Black History Month where Mr. Randall C. Phillips was one of our African American (FIRST Senior Mentors) FSMs featured in their Social Media series. Phillips is our FSM covering Western TN, Eastern AR, & Northern MS for 3 years.

On February 16, 2021, Mr. Phillips also took part as a panelist in the FIRST® Innovation Challenge Expert Education Series, Episode 5 which aired on the same date. This was done LIVE and Recorded for reviewing now. Phillips is a very proud to be apart of both!!!

FIRST Innovation Challenge – https://info.firstinspires.org/innovation-content-series
Direct Link – https://info.firstinspires.org/hubfs/MK%20Innovation%20Challenge/Content%20Series/FIRST%20Innovation%20Challenge%20Expert%20Education%20Series,%20Episode%205.mp4

Mr. Phillips is a Business Mentor to a FIRST® Tech Challenge Robotics Team as well as a FIRST® Robotics Competition Team for 12 years. Presently and for the last 5 years, Phillips is coaching a FIRST® LEGO® League Explore Robotics Team and FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge Robotics Team. Mr. Phillips also Instructs in coding & programming as a Teaching Assistant, plus he assists his Curriculum and Instruction Manager at CodeCrew. Lastly, Mr. Phillips is also a contract Instructor for YWCA of Greater Memphis teaching software and computer skills. FIRST, CodeCrew, & YWCA are all non-profit organizations.

Continue to support us!
STEM to STEAM to STREAM
(Science, Technology, Reading/wRiting, Engineering, Mathematics)
Robotics all wrapped inside!!!

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TN Valley Robotics Offering CLASS PACK Grant

Due to Covid-19, TN Valley Robotics (TNVR) is offering to support classroom STEM robotics by offering grants for CLASS PACKS. If you are not familiar with Class PACKS you can read more about them HERE. This is available to schools within the TVA Service Area (shown as cyan in logo above). If you are a teacher and interested, please contact rphillips@firstinspires.org for more information.

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FIRST LEGO League Season 2020 Brief Season Overview

Remote Events: New for 2020-2021 season
The remote events manual and platform will be provided as part two of FIRST LEGO League Season Guidance for COVID-19 Interruptions, available in December 2020. It will provide information on participating in remote events along with details about the platform.

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How to Watch Twitch (And the FIRST Chanel) on Roku

FIRST does a lot of broadcasts on TWITCH, but last year twitch was dropped by Roku. Since this was my (editor’s) preferred way to watch these broadcasts, I searched for a new way to watch them (for the upcoming FIRST season) and found this video which does allow watching FIRST Twitch Channel on Roku.

This is not an official Roku channel and is not an official TWITCH app, so use at your own risk, but personally, I am using it because I love watching these on my bigger TV vs having to watch on my computer.

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FIRST @ Home

FIRST @ Home is a website full of activities and resources about programming, CAD, Artificial Intelligence, STEM and more! It have activities for all grade levels (K-12). Check it out HERE.

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TVA Grant Opened

The TVA Grant is now opened and is accepting applications for the 2020-21 FIRST Season

Team Eligibility:

  • All FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotic teams in the TVA Service Area are eligible for funding, which will cover the following for each program:
    • FIRST Robotics Competition Rookie team – $1,000 towards Registration fees
    • FIRST Tech Challenge – $306 Registration, shipping and tax
    • FIRST LEGO League Explore – $130 Registration, Inspire Set, tax and shipping
    • FIRST LEGO League Challenge – $363 Registration, Challenge Set, tax and shipping
    • FIRST Robotics Competition Veteran team – $500 towards Registration fees
  • Teams must begin the registration process with FIRST and hold a temporary team (if a Rookie team) or team number (Veteran teams), however, teams must NOT pay for registration as it will forfeit their TVA Grant. No exceptions, substitutions or refunds will be made.
  • TVA team grants are available on a first come, first served basis. Funds will be available until Dec 1, 2020 OR until funds for the grant have been utilized.

Next Steps:

  • All teams interested in receiving TVA funds must submit a very short online application to FIRST
  • FIRST will send grant information and the application link to all teams that received TVA funding last season and encourage them to apply for funds if they intend to participate this season.
  • We ask that Partners send the application link to any other teams that are eligible for TVA funds – new/rookie teams or returning teams that did not receive funding last season.
  • You may choose to post the TVA information and application link on your website or social media channels

TVA Grant Process

  • FIRST will review all grant requests.
  • FIRST will send the grant requests to Tennessee Valley Authority to verify the team’s location within their service area. This process usually takes 48 hours.
  • Once FIRST receives the approval back from Tennessee Valley Authority, teams can expect the grant funds to be available within 5 business days.
  • Teams should expect to receive 3 emails during the application process
    1. To confirm that they have successfully submitted the application
    2. To notify them of approval and application of funds
    3. Information about recognizing/thanking TVA and the use of the TVA logo.
  • Any teams that have already paid registration or are outside of the TVA services area will be referred back to the Partner.
  • Any questions regarding this process should be directed to Amanda Pham at apham@firstinspires.org.
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2021 Championships and how it affects West TN

As announced by FIRST HQ today, the two World Championships have been moved to Mid July (Houston) and Early August (Detroit).

What does this mean for West TN? Well it means we will also be moving events to latter in the season to allow teams more time to prepare given the extra burdens placed on teams due to Covid 19.

West TN FLL Challenge and Explore will be having their Remote Event(s) in Feb and March. FTC TN Championship will be latter in the season (probably a Remote Event – Date TBD). We have yet to hear about FRC plans (but this is to be expected since FRC kickoff is not for some time yet).

Stay tuned to this website for more news on FIRST Events for teams in West TN.

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New FIRST® @ Home Curriculum

Whether in the classroom or at home learning, continue to engage students in STEM learning, skill development, and FUN with a 12 session learning series for teachers, parents, and coaches created by FIRST Education. These free and flexible PreK-12 STEM activities are available for download now.  

There is a different curriculum targeting PreK-1, 2-4, 4-8 and 7-12 grades.

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Additional Challenge and Explore Sets

To assist with remote participation registered teams will be allowed this season to order one additional RePLAYSM Challenge set for $75 and/or one additional PLAYMAKERSSM Explore set for $35 (Your first Explore set is included with $99 registration fee). Applicable sales tax and shipping fees will be added to each order. This function will be available on the FIRST store beginning August 27.

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Did you see

Just wanted to point out that our very own FIRST Senior Mentor (Randall Phillips) was featured at the top of this weeks Volunteer Newsletter:

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