What an afternoon at the PTC Campus this past Saturday.


The FIRST Tech Challenge Massachusetts Kickoff was hosted by PTC, with over 200 people in attendance. We had Mr. David Price from FIRST as our official emcee and opener (no one ignites a room like Mr. Price), followed by great presentations from John Stuart, PTC SVP of Global Academic Programs, Lisa Freed, iRobot STEM Outreach Coordinator and Don Bossi, President of FIRST. The PTC cafeteria was filled front to back with more people than I have ever seen in that room, kids, parents, teachers, mentors and pizza. Let’s not forget the pizza. Boxes and boxes of pizza!


Following the 30 minute presentation, folks were able to attend two workshops of their choice on the following topics. The Customer Visit Center was at capacity with students and mentors just spilling out of all the rooms as they were able to meet PTC experts and learn about topics and solutions that can help them succeed in their FIRST challenges.


  • Beginning 3D Modeling with Ayora Berry
  • Advanced 3D Modeling with Jordan Cox
  • Dynamic Engineering Notebooks with Roger Yeh
  • Team Work and Project Management with Scott Morris


At 3:00, the moment everyone had been waiting for, the new FTC game unveiling. David Price from FIRST and Jordan Cox pulled back the curtain and showed the new “Block Party” game for the first time ever. Loretta Bessette from FIRST’s FTC game design team was on hand to answer questions about the game, the field and the challenges and did a great job handling a barrage of questions from the students.

This year’s game looks awesome with so many challenges and opportunities for teams to specialize in from pushing blocks, to picking up blocks, to balancing on the ramp to hanging from the pull up bar, to raising the alliance flag. Check out the video if you’d like to learn more.

For those who could not attend in person, PTC streamed the whole event live on the internet via USTREAM capturing the post lunch presentations, the unveiling and Q&A session.Aplogies for the audio, it cuts out for 10 minutes in the middle. Somehow we lost the audio connection and did not realize it.

If you're interested in some pictures, check out the amazing shots from Nick Kafkas @ PhotoSynthesis