Saint James
Saint James School
Montgomery, Alabama

Join the STJ Robotics Team in Opelika October 11th

In preparation for the upcoming competition, the Saint James School Robotics Team demonstrated portions of the mechanical functionality of their robot and explained the BEST program to the STJ High School students and faculty Wednesday.

Saint James School’s Robotics Team is gearing up for the Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) Robotics competition to be held on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at Opelika High School in Opelika, Alabama. This is the fourth year Saint James has participated in BEST.

From the revealing of the game theme at “Kick Off” until “Game Day,” students participating in BEST have six weeks to design, build, and program a robot. Materials for the construction of the robot are restricted to certain types of wood, PVC, specific hardware items, and readily available objects such as golf balls and duct tape. Along with the robot, students research the game theme and write an engineering notebook.

This year’s game theme is called “Blade Runner” and is focused on wind energy and the building of wind turbines. For the game, students must build a robot that can transport and assemble components of the game’s wind turbines. They must research real world issues relating to the game, such as transportation of over-sized and over-weight materials on U.S. highways and the protection of wildlife and the environment affected by the transport and construction areas.

Teams also have the option to compete for the “BEST Award.” For this part of the competition, students must create a twenty-minute marketing presentation to promote their robot, build an exhibit, and show great enthusiasm and sportsmanship to the other teams. Through the BEST program, the students gain real-life insights into the engineering profession and are given the opportunity to hone their public speaking skills and to learn the benefits of collaboration.

On Game Day, visitors can watch the robots in competition, visit the teams’ exhibits, and cheer for their favorite robot. Surprisingly, the competition is more rowdy and exciting than a basketball game between cross-state rivals.

BEST is held every year across the nation with thousands of schools participating. Unlike many robotics competitions, BEST is non-profit, administered by volunteers, the competition charges no entrance fee, and they provide many of the necessary materials and electronics. There are multiple BEST hubs in Alabama with Auburn University as the hub for east central Alabama and west central Georgia. In addition to hosting competitions, BEST hubs often assist schools with engineering mentors. The War Eagle BEST, as it is known, will host twenty-two teams this year including many from the Montgomery area including Saint James School, BrewTech, Montgomery Catholic, LAMP, Eastwood, Cornerstone, and Wetumpka. For further information, contact Vicky Eichelberg at veichelberg@stjweb.org or visit www.bestinc.org and for videos of recent competitions, visit www.wareaglebest.org

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