Game On! 2009 BEST Robotics begins
The past two blog entries have focused on resources for getting your students involved in either math or science-based contests and competitions. Hopefully, the links have inspired some of you to take a chance and get your students involved in some of these exciting adventures. In the spirit of sponsoring teams for these types of competitive events, I have decided to share the first leg of my 2009 BEST Robotic team's journey.
This past Saturday, our 2009 robotics team got its first taste of what this year’s challenge will hold. Meeting on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, our students were introduced to this year's objectives. Of our 50 team members participating this year (I know, I just couldn’t tell any students no) almost all of them are neophytes. We will have about 6 returning veteran students. I’d like to point out one really cool thing about this competition is the founders of BEST Robotics thought well ahead of the curve and decided that if a child left a competing school only to attend a school without a BEST team that he/she may return to the old team. The challenge cannot be described here specifically due to the fact that there are other hubs that have not hosted their kickoff events yet; however, know that the challenge is great this year. During the course of the kickoff students attended about 5 hours of sessions dedicated to “the game” the student designed robot will play and the parameters of the overall award and judging. My students left with many questions and definitely on information overload.
To give you insight into how this competition is laid out, I will provide a brief overview:
- The BEST Robotics competition lasts for 6 weeks from kickoff to game day.
- The competition is free.
- Sponsors of the competition supply materials for constructing the team’s robot.
- There is no size limit to the teams.
- Students can decide to participate in just the robot competition or the overall BEST award (which includes the robot competition).
- The BEST Award includes judging on a booth/table display and interview, oral presentation, webpage, team spirit/sportsmanship, fundraising, and notebook.
- The Saturday before game day teams are invited to participate in a mall day where teams take their robots to a local mall and experience timed practice trials on the playing field.
As you can see, even if students aren’t particularly into robotics, there is something for almost every type of learner. The meeting and practice schedules are intense and I suspect that we may have a few students decide that this isn’t for them, but for those that stay this experience could change their educational paths. On Saturday one returning student mentioned that he could not have imagined not returning for BEST, it is simply that important to him. As time progresses I plan to post additional updates on the team and will eventually post a link to the team’s website (once the students have it up and running). I would love to hear about teams that you sponsor and the great things your students are doing.
Have a wonderful week!