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Contact Us

Montana FIRST

Mailing Address:
Dr. Donna Minton
Montana FIRST
3317 Fieldstone Dr. W.
Bozeman, MT 59715

Sheree Watson
313 Roberts Hall
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT
Tel: (406) 994-6723
Fax: (406) 994-6665

> College of Engineering > Montana FIRST
FIRST Tech Challenge

Starting a Team

Anyone can form a team, whether or not he or she has strong technical background or robotics experience. A team can be a school class, after-school program, extracurricular group, home school, neighborhood group, club, or civic organization. A team consists of three to ten students, ages 14-18, and at least one adult coach, which can be a teacher, parent, or adult volunteer. An adult coach can be the coach for multiple teams, but a student can be on only one team.

There are a few things every potential FTC Team should know before registering, including how to register! Here you go...

Season Overview

On-line Team Registration:

May – October/November

Challenge Revealed:


Building Season:

October - January

Tournament Application:

Mid-October through November

Tournament Season:

November - January

World Championship



Cost to register an FTC team is $275 for the 2007 season. Registration grants teams access to FTC tournaments around the country and technical support from FIRST. Teams also will need a VEX robotics kit, which may be purchased upon registering or at for ~$400 (discounted kits will be available in 2007 – information coming soon) . Teams may use the same VEX kit from year to year, but the registration cost is an annual expense. Teams will also need to cover any costs to register for the regional tournament (~$50 to $200, depending on the tournament) and travel to and from the tournament site.

Participation in an FTC event is not included in registration costs and it is not guaranteed. Tournament application typically opens in mid-October. The event participation fee will vary from event to event, but is generally $50-$200 per team.

Please note that, as the program continues to develop, costs may vary from season to season.

Organizing a Team

Anyone can form a team. It can be a school classroom, after-school program, extracurricular group, home school, neighborhood group, a club, or civic organization. A team consists of three to ten students, ages 14-18, and at least one adult coach.

A student can only be a team member on one team. A student is not allowed to be a member on multiple teams.

Any single coach can be the coach for multiple teams. For example, a teacher could be the coach for multiple teams in their classroom.

For a number of reasons, it is difficult for us to match an individual with a pre-existing team.

Typically, we encourage interested individuals to consider forming their own team.

Components of an FTC Team:
Optional Team Elements:

3-10 Students Mentors
Adult Coach Additional Coaches
Gracious Professionalism Team Volunteers

Questions Answered for Potential Coaches

Q: How much time is involved in coaching a team?
A: You will need to arrive at your own optimum time commitment, but generally teams range from three to six hours per week, with additional weekend hours if needed around tournament season.

Q: Does the coach need to have a technical background?
A: A technical background is helpful, but not necessary. Learning alongside the team is expected. Coaches must be willing to acquire some basic knowledge of the programming environment and Vex robot building. For additional assistance we encourage the coach to enlist the support of a technology mentor or guest speaker(s).

Q: Is one coach enough?
A: A team of 4-5 kids can operate with only one coach. However, if you have the ten maximum students on your team, you will probably need some extra help. You may want to ask teachers, parents, or other volunteers in your area to help you run your team.

Q: Are there any learning materials or training available?
A: Yes, the FTC Coaches Handbook is a helpful resource for coaches. More materials and resources are currently being developed.

What You Need To Get Started

Besides eager students and a willing coach, teams require a place to meet and a few needs within that site. A team needs the following items:

  • Internet Access
  • Enough secure space for a 12’ by 12’ field
  • Work tables and chairs
  • Space for meetings and building
  • Good lighting in work area
  • Simple sets of tools for working with VEX parts

How to Register

Now that you have some of your questions answered, here's how to become an official team (if you still have lingering questions, please visit! Know that while an individual coach can coach multiple teams, an individual student can only be on one team.

Step 1: Visit Team Resources to learn of available resources.

Step 2: Determine a Coach or main contact person for the FTC team. Get their e-mail address and other contact info.

Step 3: Determine where you want your FTC information shipped to.

Step 4: Gather your payment information and billing address. If paying by credit card, statement and billing address must match.

Step 5: Go to FTC Registration!

View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 9/7/07
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