Seven teams advanced from the recent Wolverine BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) robotics challenge at Grove City College, earning spots in the regional competition in Fargo, N.D. in December.
Teams from Clarion, Mercer, and Union high schools, Christian Life Academy, Cornerstone Christian Preparatory Academy and homeschools from Grove City and Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs won BEST Awards at the competition on Oct. 16 and 17. Approximately 320 students from fifth to 12th grade participated.
The competition challenges teams of students to design and build a robot that can complete a specific task. Hubs like Wolverine BEST provide the raw materials, some advice, and a venue for competition. Dr. Mike Bright, Wolverine BEST coordinator and chairman of Grove City College’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, organized the two-day event in the Arena of the Physical Learning Center. The Wolverine BEST challenge is one of only two BEST competitions in the state of Pennsylvania. The event is also a chance for participants to hone their engineering skills and is a great way to introduce them to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts. It is also the perfect event for Grove City College and its nationally ranked engineering program to demonstrate a commitment to enriching the community and service to young people.
Students had to design and built a robot that could execute a series of tasks to retrieve a variety of valuable minerals from a mine that was deemed too dangerous for humans to enter. The game area included a number of obstacles that the robots had to maneuver around and through to secure the ore. The game also featured an economic angle: the point scores were tied to the market values of the commodities, which was determined by how much of each that the teams took out of the mine.
Teams in the competition were: 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 Instrument, Integrated Industrial Technologies, Joy Global and two anonymous donors. Stephanie Adams serves as Wolverine BEST Hub director. For more on Wolverine BEST and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Grove City College, visit www.gcc.edu/elee.