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Nearly 500 middle and high school students from Middle Tennessee are expected to participate in the Lipscomb University and Nissan North America annual robotics bonanza: Music City BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition on Saturday, Oct. 28, in Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.
BEST is a national six-week robotics competition that allows students to apply the math, science and technology they learn in the classroom to the design and construction of their robot through teamwork and real- life problem solving.
This year, 14 Middle Tennessee schools, including Lipscomb Academy, are participating in the competition.
Participating teams are:
- Lipscomb Academy – Nashville, Tennessee
- Battle Ground Academy – Franklin, Tennessee
- Brentwood Middle & High School – Brentwood, Tennessee
- Merrol Hyde Magnet School – Hendersonville, Tennessee
- Dickson Area Robotics – Burns, Tennessee
- Discovery School – Murfreesboro, Tennessee
- Montgomery Bell Academy – Nashville, Tennessee
- Smyrna Robotics – Smyrna, Tennessee
- Cannon County High School – Woodbury, Tennessee
- Ensworth High School – Nashville, Tennessee
- West End Middle School – Nashville, Tennessee
- Zion Christian Academy – Columbia, Tennessee
- Riverside Association of Robotics and Engineering (R.A.R.E) – Fayetteville, Tennessee
- Stewarts Creek Middle School – Smyrna, Tennessee
During the past six weeks, they have designed and built robots to carry out a specific task. On Saturday, teams will pit their creations against one another in the game themed “Crossfire.”
This year, BEST robots will extinguish a “fire” in an industrial complex, rescue a “person” trapped in the building and quarantine “drums” of hazardous chemicals to prevent them from spilling.
The flames of the fire are represented by plastic drinking cups on shelves, and the robots extinguish them by throwing plastic golf balls and knocking the cups off the shelves. Laying on the floor next to the fire is Manny the Manikin, made from rope and PVC pipe. The robots transport Manny to a stretcher, so he can be transported away to a hospital. The hazardous chemicals are represented by one-quart paint cans with weights inside. The robots will transport the cans away from the fire into a secure area of the game field.
In addition to the robot contest, teams also compete for the best engineering project notebook, marketing presentation, team exhibit and interviews, as well as spirit and sportsmanship. Only three teams will move on to the regional competition in December at Auburn University.
BEST robotics is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology through participation in a sports-like, science and engineering-based robotics competition. It began in 1993 with 14 schools and 221 students and today, has more than 850 middle and high school with over 18,000 students participating.
BEST Music City is also sponsored by TVA, which provides $100 for each team to use to build their robot design and additional funds to set up the game field in Allen Arena.