The GEAR Alliance non-profit is an umbrella organization for pathway progression of FIRST robotics teams and STEM educational initiatives co-housed in our Longmont facility.
FIRST Robotics Competition – “Up-A-Creek Robotics” (9th-12th grade)
Our high school team is our largest program, with 90 students from 7 district schools participating. Students build large robots and compete in Colorado and neighboring states. A rising national contender, in the past eight years the team has won the Colorado regional six times and out-of-state regional seven times. We won the 2022 World Championships in 2022.
FIRST Tech Challenge – Development Team (8th-10th grade)
Our FTC development team is a close-knit team of 10 students, designed to give promising students and future leaders an intensive robotics experience prior to joining the FRC team. Building smaller 18” robots, the team competes locally in Colorado. 2016 was our rookie year. The team were the 2022 World Champions and the 2023 World Finalists.
FIRST Lego League – (4th-8th grade)
We support 5 different Lego League teams, with forty young students participating from elementary and middle schools through our school district. Our young roboteers learn to program Lego Mindstorm robots to navigate “missions” on a tabletop field. Students learn teamwork skills and also research a large world problem and brainstorm solutions they themselves can implement.
FIRST LEGO League Jr.* (K-3rd grade)
In 2018, we added First Lego League Jr. to our offerings which allows us to teach Robotics to students K - 12th. FIRST LEGO League Jr.* is designed to introduce STEM concepts to kids ages 6 to 10 while exciting them through a brand they know and love − LEGO®.
Guided by adult coaches and FIRST® Core Values, students build models using LEGO®Education WeDo 2.0 and create Show Me posters to present what they learned. The program focuses on building interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through a real-world challenge – to be solved by research, critical thinking, and imagination.
Free Summer “Drop-In” Learning Nights (4th-12th grade)
During the summer months, our high school students volunteer to teach free programming classes and CAD skills to the public. The atmosphere at our “drop-in” nights is casual, with students often cooking, socializing, getting extra help with building computers, rockets or maker projects. Teaching helps our older students cement their own learning. Attendance at these nights often leads to later participation on our junior robotics teams.
Summer Educational Camps (4th-12th grade)
In the summer we offer 4-6 educational camps each week, including such offerings as SolidWorks, Java programming, Minecraft, Kerbal Space Program, PhotoShop, AfterEffects and Lego Mindstorms. This year, we offered our first girls STEAM camp, as well as high-school machining courses. The summer camp fees help cover building expenses and provide high school team members opportunities to earn their expenses.