Competition brings out the “BEST.” Eighty students from the Seaside Neighborhood School campus of Seaside School, Inc., ventured to the University of West Florida in Pensacola on Oct. 28 to compete for the Emerald Coast Hub in the 10th Annual BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.
BEST Robotics Inc. (BRI) is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields.
Seaside Neighborhood School competes in the Emerald Coast BEST Hub, which is the only hub located in Florida.
Through participation in this project-based STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. It is these skills that industry seeks in its workforce.
Each competing team is evaluated in a number of categories including robot design, performance, aesthetic, team spirit, sportsmanship, marketing and presentation.
Each fall, more than 850 middle and high schools and more than 18,000 students participate in the competition. Last year, the theme was “Bet the Farm” and a team of Seaside Neighborhood School students had 42 days to build a robot, documenting the engineering process along the way. The robot was expected to be able to harvest and deliver corn, turn on a water valve to keep the crops hydrated, harvest tomatoes and lettuce and deliver them to a farmers market stand, corral pigs and feed them. Seaside Neighborhood School won 2nd place for BEST Game Teamwear Design and was a finalist in the Dance Off competition.
In 2015, the Seaside Neighborhood School team was named the 2015 BEST robotics award winners.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students to demonstrate leadership,” says Seaside Neighborhood School principal Kim Mixson. “A number of teams take part and share in the excitement of learning about STEM ideas and projects. And the various components provide many ways for all students to contribute their talents and get involved for a combined cause.”
The winners of the Emerald Coast BEST Hub advance to the regional competition, called the South’s BEST, which comprises 16 hubs from the Southeast. It is scheduled to take place Dec. 2-3, 2017 at Auburn University. The finalists then compete on a national level in April 2018.