Five Alabama Schools advance to South’s BEST regional robotics competition

AUBURN – A crowd of cheering onlookers packed Auburn University’s Student Activities Center recently to see the 2009 War Eagle BEST Robotics competition. Twenty-four Alabama middle and high school teams showed how they had met this year’s challenge to design a robot to help with today’s energy crisis.

Six weeks prior to the competition in Auburn, the teams received their kits of standardized parts and were given the details of this year’s game, “High Octane,” a challenge to design robots to collect and employ common molecules, CO2 and H2O, and essential resources to complete a series of chemical reactions to maximize production of the alternative fuels.

Students then designed and built robots for the recent head-to-head competition. A second portion of the competition tested each team’s ability to market its creations using presentations, notebooks, displays, T-shirt designs and spirit.

Lee-Scott Academy won first place in the robotics competition, with Stanhope Elmore High School taking second and Auburn High School third. Wetumpka High School took first place in the BEST Award competition, with Episcopal Day School of Gadsden and Stanhope Elmore High School taking second and third, respectively.

The five winning teams from this competition will advance to the South’s BEST Regional Championship to compete against 45 other winning teams from 11 hubs in the eastern United States. The free public event will be held in Auburn’s Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum Dec. 11-12.

BEST, or Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, is a non-profit volunteer organization whose purpose is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology through participation in a robotics competition. BEST has 33 hubs, or competition sites, in 13 states with five in Alabama.

BEST is the most effective K-12 informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, education activity in Alabama schools for inspiring students to pursue careers in these fields.

For more information, go to www.wareaglebest.org.

Contact: Cheryl Cobb, (334) 844-2220 (cobbche@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)