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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Robotics Competition Kicks Off at Penn State DuBois


Robotics Competition Kicks Off at Penn State DuBois

DuBOIS – The first round of a nation-wide robotics competition for middle and high school students will take place at Penn State DuBois in October. The BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) robotics competition will take place on October 24, and 25, in the campus gymnasium, with Penn State DuBois serving as a local hub for the competition. A kickoff event was held on Saturday, September 13, for teams from participating schools to attend and learn more about the contest. Participating teams come from as close as DuBois, and as far away as Connecticut. 

BEST provides all necessary parts and equipment for teams to build a robot that they can use to run a course and perform specified tasks. The robot must be built within a six-week time frame. On the days of the contest, all teams will run the course, competing for the best times and course completion. Through participation in this project-based program, students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. The goal is to better prepare these students for further education and careers in STEM fields, (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

The learning opportunities with BEST don't stop at STEM fields, however. Teams also compete and receive awards for other areas of the project, which include marketing, exhibition, sportsmanship, and team spirit. 

Penn State DuBois Chancellor Melanie Hatch said she is happy to host BEST on campus, because the organization puts educational experiences for the participants at the forefront of its mission. Hatch said, "Competitions like this are on-point from an academic perspective. Activities involving STEM education get young people excited about the fields early on, and have great potential to inspire many of our nation's much-needed future engineers, scientists, or mathematicians. Additionally, it presents opportunities for students with stronger aptitudes outside of STEM to compete in areas like marketing, where they can shine, as well." 

Schools participating in BEST at Penn State DuBois are DuBois Area High School, DuBois Central Catholic, Ridgway Area High School, Brookville Area High School, Brockway Area High School, Redbank Valley High School, Hill-Freedman World Academy of Philadelphia, Williamsburg Christian Academy of Williamsburg, Virginia; Overbrook High School of New Jersey, Miss Porter's School of Connecticut, and Martin Luther King High School of Philadelphia.
All members of the community are invited to attend two public events for BEST at Penn State DuBois. Mall Day will take place from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, at the DuBois Mall, where individuals are welcomed to view the playing field and some of the competing robots. The official contest will take place from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 24, as well as from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 25, in the campus gymnasium at Penn State DuBois. 

Winners of BEST at Penn State DuBois will advance to the Northern Plains BEST Regional Championships to be held December 4-6, at North Dakota State University.
More information can be found at http://dubois.psu.edu/best

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