CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

October 19, 2012

Teams Test Robots in Preparation for North Alabama BEST Competition at Wallace State Next Friday, Oct. 26  


WSCC Media Relations

HANCEVILLE — Wallace State Community College in Hanceville will host eight area schools from Cullman and Blount counties on Friday, Oct. 26, to compete in the North Alabama BEST Robotics Competition.

BEST, which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, combines skills from these and other areas in a high intensity game where only the best robot wins.

According to Wallace State’s BEST coordinator Kelly Jones, the goal of the competition is to help students become competent and confident in abstract thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, self-directed learning, teamwork, project management and leadership roles. Students experience the same problems, challenges and breakthroughs that an engineering team encounters when it takes a product to market. They also gain experience dealing with team dynamics, time constraints, material constraints and pressure from opponents trying to solve the same problem.

Schools scheduled to participate in the event are Fairview High School, Holly Pond High School, Good Hope High School, Hartselle Junior High School, Cullman High School, Cullman Middle School, J.B. Pennington High School, Blount County Career Technical Center.

Each participating team was provided a robotics kit on the BEST kick-off day held September 13 and has six weeks until to design, develop and test a robot that can outperform their opponents.  This year’s theme is Warp XX, and the objective is to design a robot that can most efficiently climb an elevator into space to transport cargo.

Teams had the opportunity to test their robot on the official playing field on Thursday at the Wallace State Wellness Center.

For game day on Oct. 26, competition will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. and will continue through various rounds of pool play and elimination until a winner is determined, which should be around 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Among the awards also given are those for school spirit – bands, cheerleaders, and mascots often accompany the teams; and for marketing – each team is set up like a company and develops business and marketing plans, and sets up a booth at the event.

The top three competition teams from next Friday’s event will advance to the South’s BEST regional competition at Auburn University later this year.

The BEST robotics competition was started in 1993 by two engineers, Ted Mahler and Steve Marum, who worked for Texas Instruments. The initial competition had 14 schools and 221 students participate. Today, the event annually attracts 750 schools and 11,000 students. This is Wallace State’s fourth year to host the North Alabama’s BEST event.

BEST is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology and math through participation in a sports-like science and engineering based robotics competition.

For more information about Wallace State and the BEST Robotics Competition, visit www.wallacestate.edu or www.northalabamabest.com.