Westbrook Intermediate WIRED Robotics team won the 1st place BEST Award and 2nd place in Robot Competition in the BEST Robotics competition for the USTEM hub on October 29, 2016, at South Early College High School in Houston. The BEST award is given to the teams that ranked highest overall on its project engineering notebook, marketing presentation, exhibit booth, robot, spirit, and sportsmanship. Westbrook also took home plaques for 1st place in the Exhibit and Interview category and 1st place for Spirit and Sportsmanship. Placing 1st place with 2,375 points in the seeding rounds, and 1st in the semi-finals, Westbrook nonetheless came in 2nd in the final rounds of the robot competition. The Westbrook WIRED team will now move on to the Texas BEST Regional Championship in Frisco, TX, from December 8-10.
These Intermediate School students compete against the top intermediate and high school students from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, including teams from engineering magnet schools. WIRED has advanced to Texas BEST eight of the last nine years.
For the 2016 competition, the robot game had an agricultural theme. Students had to plant seeds, harvest crops, turn an irrigation valve, and herd pigs. At the beginning of the season, the teams received a box of raw materials, including things such as plywood, PVC, metal, and nuts and bolts. WIRED designed, prototyped, built, and integrated robot subsystems into a final product.
BEST Robotics (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) is not just about the robot. It requires documenting the engineering process and design (including CAD drawings), a team of Robot C programmers, an exhibit booth, and a team of marketing experts who approach the competition from a corporate point of view. The team’s enthusiasm and sportsmanship during events is worth 10 points toward the BEST Award. Another big part of WIRED’s efforts includes mentoring other teams and community outreach during competition. This year, WIRED students and mentors helped KIPP Academy in Houston and hosted an evening at Westbrook to give KIPP drivers a chance to practice on our competition field. Our student programmers helped South Early College High School get their robot running at competition. WIRED went out to Freeman Library, CCISD Science Night, elementary schools and Cub Scout meetings to demonstrate the robot and inform the public about BEST Robotics. The goal of BEST is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology, and mathematics through robotics design.