COSAM News Articles 2018 September Let’s Get Ready! The South’s BEST Robotics Championship Starts Its Season.

Let’s Get Ready! The South’s BEST Robotics Championship Starts Its Season.

Published: 09/11/2018

By: Caroline Ezell

With the start of school, the BEST Robotics 2018 competition is gearing up for another challenge. BEST, which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology, is a 25-year-old national program whose goal is to initiate robotics programs at no cost in middle and high schools. The South’s BEST Regional Championship, held by Auburn University’s College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM) and Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, hosts advancing teams from local hubs all over the southeast region of the United States. The South’s BEST Championship is set to be on December 1 and 2, 2018, at Auburn University.

Each year, teams compete to build robots that tasks students with the same design challenges, time and material constraints, and competitive pressure that real-world engineers face. The game’s theme reflects issues in today’s world that robotics could potentially solve. This year’s game, Current Events, designed by Tj Nguyen, a former BEST student, of Auburn’s Southeastern Conference of Robotics Education (SCORE), focuses on ocean pollution and the havoc trash wreaks on marine ecosystems. The game focuses on using robots to remove garbage, assess the garbage’s impact on wildlife, and attempt to rebuild marine habitats with recycled materials. The universal reveal of the theme on August 25 introduced the rules and game field of the year’s challenge to about 1,000 schools across the country.

Along with the robotic performance in the game, teams also compete for awards in categories like engineering design, marketing presentations, team interviews, and team spirit. BEST is so successful because of the emphasis on student and team involvement, and the encouragement it provides for creative thinking, problem-solving, and goal-directed learning. With over 16,000 students, BEST reaches an incredible amount of people, including large numbers of minorities and women. SCORE, is an Auburn University initiative through the COSAM Office of Outreach that is designed to create robotics education for K-12 students and teachers. SCORE and BEST work together to enrich robotics knowledge and increase accessibility for students and teachers of all ages.

War Eagle BEST, a local qualifier for South’s BEST also hosted by Auburn University, kicked-off the season on September 5 at the Auburn Mall, with another showcase for the game’s playing field on October 7 at the mall, and the competition on October 20 at Opelika High School.

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