BEST robotics competition comes to GCC

Grove City College is sponsoring its sixth annual Wolverine BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) robotics competition for local middle and high school students Friday, Oct. 16, and Saturday, Oct. 17, in the Physical Learning Center on campus.

This year’s competition has drawn 19 teams from regional public and private schools as well as the homeschooling community. Their objective is to use teamwork and innovative thinking to build a robot that can execute a series of tasks to retrieve a variety of valuable minerals from a mine that’s too dangerous for humans to enter. The game area includes a number of obstacles that the robots will have to maneuver around and through to secure the ore. The game also features an economic angle, with the point scores being tied to the market value of the commodities, which will be determined by how much of each that the teams take out of the mine.

BEST Robotics is a national robotics competition that exposes students to important STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts through a fun, hands-on experience that tests their problem-solving, design and engineering skills.

From 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, teams will present their plans through display booths, oral presentations and engineering notebooks in the IM Room of the Physical Learning Center. The presentations are a big part of the competition and a key learning feature. Display booths will remain set up in the IM Room on Saturday.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the teams put their robotic creations to the test in the Arena of the Physical Learning Center. With hundreds of students in attendance, along with teachers, parents and supporters, “game day” in the Arena feels more like a major sporting event than an academic exercise. School mascots and even a pep band have been part of festivities in past competitions.

“One thing I love about Wolverine BEST is the creativity of the students,” said Dr. Mike Bright, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the College who serves as liaison for BEST and has organized the competition in past years. “Teams get the same set of game rules, see the same playing field and hear the same explanation of the game. However, at game day you see 19 very different robots. Everyone has a different idea about how to accomplish the tasks and what is the best game strategy.”

Schools participating in the event are: Beaver Area Homeschoolers, Christian Life Academy, Clarion Area High School, Commodore Perry High School, Commodore Perry Middle School, Cornerstone Christian Prep, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, Evangel Heights Christian Academy, Family Instructors of the Northern Suburbs, Franklin Middle School, Grove City High School, Grove City Homeschoolers, Holy Trinity School, Kennedy Catholic High School, Mercer High School, Redeemer Lutheran School, Slippery Rock Middle School, Union Area High School and West Middlesex High School

Wolverine BEST is sponsored by Grove City College, Pine Instruments, Integrated Industrial Technologies, Joy Global and two anonymous donors. Stephanie Adams serves as Wolverine BEST Hub director. To learn more about BEST, visit www.gcc.edu/best.

BEST robotics competition comes to GCC

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