Robotics | Hastings Secondary College

Hastings Secondary College community is exceptionally proud of our team’s SUCCESS and our INNOVATIVE and passionate teachers and staff who have guided and supported our students on this amazing journey of OPPORTUNITY.

What is the FIRST® Robotics Competition?

FIRST® is a not for profit charity founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. It is supported by Macquarie University and a number of sponsors in Australia.

The  FIRST® Robotics Competition is a large-scale robotics competition, bringing together students and mentors to build robots that perform in a competitive but gracious environment against teams from all over the world. In building their robot and doing all the other things that go with a competition, students learn valuable life skills like teamwork, collaboration, public speaking, technical science and engineering skills, and others. In the organisation's own words "it's a varsity sport for the mind" High school-aged young people from around the world form teams with like-minded cohorts, learn from adult mentors and then build the best robots they can for good-nature, character- building competition.

How does the program work?

Each January the competition game is announced and the team has six weeks to build, code and build a robot that completes a set of challenges. Each year the game changes, so all teams build a new robot every year. Adding to the challenge, teams must complete building their robots mid-February, giving them just about six weeks to brainstorm, design, prototype, build, program and learn to drive a robot. The robots themselves are up to 6 ft. tall and weigh as much as 50 kgs. Robots work together to score points, play defense, and fend off other teams.

To build the robot during the short build season, teams must design and build mechanical, electrical and software controls systems, as well as integrate them all into one remote-controlled machine.

What do students gain?

Students have a lot to gain from robotics programs like FIRST. They work with professional engineers, develop team- building skills and get their hands dirty with some actual robotic construction, programming and problem solving - all while potentially having the time of their lives.

But in order for all this to happen, these STEM bound young men and women either have to build a team from scratch. Students develop priceless engineering, programming and teamwork skills. It also gives bright young students a chance to let their geek flag fly with pride.

Teams from around the world don't just come to compete, they come to flaunt their love of science. Youth and adults alike join in a celebration of nerdom and even kick off festivities with a robot parade. Live marching bands usher the prized bots through the competition grounds with brightly coloured mascots follow in their wake. Wizards, aliens and cartoon characters accompany the teams as family members and volunteers cheer from the stands.

Explore the links and learn even more about robots.

First Robotics

How did Hastings Secondary College get involved in the program?

Macquarie University supports the regional outreach program “Robots in the Outback” (sponsored by Google) and visited Hastings Secondary College, along with experts from the USA, on the late January 2017 to mentor our team.

What did the judges say about Team 6508?

In 2017 Hastings Heroes Team 6508 took out the title of "Rookie of the Year". Rookie teams are generally encouraged to attempt only one of the four challenges, but Hastings 6508 prepared for the autonomous, gear installation and climbing challenges.

“This challenge is not an easy one for a rookie team but in the short-time, this team has been here they have definitely made their presence felt. They impressed all the judges displaying all the spirit of FIRST with their fantastic approach to the whole competition all the time. Their engineering shows a level of maturity that makes them a team to watch out for in the future. The group is strong, their discussion excited and enthusiastic. They have taken their design to new levels; thinking about what they can do and what the universe can throw at them, to stop it happening, ratcheting up the competition. Their robot climbs with astounding energy that all members of the team display. This year’s winners of the Rookie All Stars Award is Hastings Secondary College, 650

Behind the scenes with Hastings Heroes Team 6508

Member of Team 6508 tell of opportunities with Robotic Program

Competition footage

Competition Results 2018

Competition Results 2017

Our lessons learned as a Rookie Team in the 2017 First Robotics Competition


Find out more about our sponsorship program

Download sponsorship brochure.