BEST Robotics at Calhoun
Close to 1000 middle and high school students, teachers and parents representing 13 schools from across north Alabama and Southern Tennessee will descend on the Decatur campus of Calhoun Community College this Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, to participate in the Tennessee Valley (TVB) BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) robotics competition. The competition kicks off on Saturday morning in Calhoun’s Kelley Gym.
Presented by Calhoun and Auburn University and sponsored by Toyota and Decatur Daybreak Rotary, the BEST competition has been described by organizers as being like a basketball game, chess match and science fair all rolled into one day, with cheerleaders, mascots, pep bands, and wildly cheering adults and kids mixed in.
While the actual team competition kicks off at 11:00am on Saturday, a number of activities connected to the event will take place on Thursday and Friday to include the Engineering Notebook, Webpage, and Spirit and Sportsmanship judging and the Marketing presentations.
Kits for building the competition robots consist of plywood and a box filled with items such as PVC pipe, screws and other hardware, an irrigation valve cover, piano wire, an aluminum paint grid, a bicycle inner tube, and a micro-energy chain system. Teams have had approximately two months to design a functioning machine which will perform certain specific tasks in three minutes during Saturday’s competition.
“Industry across the state views the BEST robotics competition as an ideal workforce development program because in the process of building their robots, the students learn to identify and analyze design problems, brainstorm solutions for them, and build and test their designs, all in a team-building atmosphere,” commented Calhoun President Marilyn Beck.
Area schools participating in this year’s competition are the Academy for Science and Foreign Language (Huntsville); Athens Bible School (Athens); Bob Jones High School (Madison); Decatur/Austin High Schools (Decatur); Decatur Heritage Christian Academy (Decatur); Grissom High School (Huntsville); Lincoln County High School Design Drafting Program (Fayetteville, TN); Lindsay Lane Christian Academy (Athens); New Century Technology High School (Huntsville); Randolph High School (Huntsville); Riverside Christian Academy (Fayetteville, TN); Sparkman High School (Madison); St. Peter’s Academy (Huntsville); and Way Home Christian School (Huntsville).
BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) is a national, non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, and technology through participation in a sports-like, science- and engineering-based robotics competition. BEST started in 1993 in Dallas, Texas, and has grown to be the second largest robotics competition in the nation. Calhoun has sponsored the Tennessee Valley BEST competition since 2007.