Auburn to host South’s BEST Robotics Regional Championships

AUBURN – Auburn University will host the 2010 South’s BEST Robotics Regional Championship from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The event, in which middle and high school teams will compete to build and market the best robot. is sponsored by the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics. It is free and open to the public.

Students in the School of Architecture’s first year Foundation Studio have created a set whose design will enhance not only the physical venue of the competition, but also the mood. The students will work late into the night to surprise Saturday morning’s competitors as they arrive.

Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology is a national outreach activity for K-12 students to create enthusiasm about engineering, science and technology and to encourage pursuit of careers in these fields.

Through participation in this project-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program, or STEM, students learn to analyze and solve problems using the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop the technological literacy skills that industry seeks in its workforce.

This fall, more than 12,500 students, 4,000 volunteers and 850 schools are participating in BEST Robotics, whose national headquarters is based at Auburn University.

South’s BEST is one of three BEST regional championships. The top five teams from each of the 13 hubs that make up the region compete for the right to travel to the BEST national championship in Dallas this spring to compete against the winners of BEST’s two other regions: one in Texas and the second in Arkansas.

This year’s competition began in September when teams received their kits of standardized parts and were given the details of this year’s game, “Total Recall,” that challenges them to design robots that can successfully process and package a manufactured product while ensuring the highest standards of quality.

The teams had six weeks to design and build their robots for the first round of local competitions. They could also test their marketing skills using presentations, notebooks, displays, t-shirt designs and spirit.

In an initiative which is new this year, forty-eight teachers from Alabama counties with high unemployment rates will attend this year’s South’s BEST as observers, with the goal of bringing this program back to their middle and high schools. Their presence at the event was made possible by a $353,808 grant from the State Department of Postsecondary Education.

The effort, spearheaded by the non-profit organization, Friends of BEST, is designed to jumpstart BEST programs in these black belt counties. In January, the teachers will receive additional in-service training help as they kick off their programs.

Friends of BEST is a group of 28 of the largest industries in the Mobile area who banded together to support BEST in their area with the goal of developing a technologically literate workforce. The grant is designed to leverage the Mobile model to other areas of the state.

South’s BEST hubs include Blazer BEST in Birmingham, Connecticut BEST in New Britain, Emerald Coast BEST in Pensacola, Georgia BEST in Marietta, Jubilee BEST in Mobile, Music City BEST in Nashville, Philadelphia BEST in Philadelphia, Tennessee Valley BEST in Decatur, War Eagle BEST in Auburn, Wiregrass BEST in Dothan and Wolverine BEST in Grove City.

For more information, go to www.southsbest.org and http://best.eng.auburn.edu/souths-best-stream.html. Results and photos will be posted to www.southsbest.org.

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