This Saturday, May 3, 2014, RARC Competition III culminated in a grand finale of the 2013-2014 Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit, as teams of elementary, middle, and high school students from across the region celebrated the growth of the competition in true Olympic fashion. RARC, now completing its fifth year, is a series of three STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) competitions for students in grades 4-12. The competitions build upon one another throughout the year and allow students to work together in teams and compete against other students within their division in STEM and liberal arts challenges.
Competition III allowed students to build upon the concepts learned in the first two competitions while facing new challenges. Elementary and middle school students competed in two intense rounds of robotic archery challenges which required them to program LEGO® NXT and EV3 robots to launch projectiles at targets of varying point values. Students also participated in a STEM Quiz Bowl, where teams faced off against one another to answer grade-level STEM questions. Prior to Competition III, these teams earned bonus points by submitting facts about present day and future Olympic events. Staying with the Olympic theme, high school teams programmed two Boe-Bots® to autonomously perform a torch relay that creatively incorporated LEDs, sensors, and precise measuring. Following these challenges, high school teams delivered technical presentations that provided connections between RARC activities and the real world applications and the importance of programming in various career fields.
This year, RARC participation was at a new high, impacting over 1,000 students in the region. “This is proof that students are drawn to hands-on, STEM learning activities. They enjoy taking part in events like RARC where they can work as a team to overcome various challenges while having fun within the spirit of competition,” shared Paul Spivey, Deputy Director of the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center.
“The City of Bossier is proud to serve as a partner for RARC and to provide a venue where over 1,000 students from multiple parishes can come together to learn and demonstrate STEM skills,” added Mayor Lo Walker of Bossier City.
Throughout Competition III, teams accumulated points based on their performance and were ranked accordingly. In the elementary division, W.T. Lewis Elementary (Team 1) emerged as the first place winner followed by NSU Elementary Lab (Team 4) in second place and NSU Elementary (Team 3) in third place. In the middle school division, Elm Grove Middle School (Team 5) earned first place while Newton Smith (Team 3) and Cope Middle School (Team 2) took second and third place, respectively. The first, second, and third place winners of the high school division were Louisiana New Tech of Plain Dealing (Team 2), Benton High School (Team 2), and Southwood High School (Team Blue), respectively. Grand Champions for the 2013-2014 Circuit were also named. During the competition year, the highest point total earned by each school’s top team was applied to the school’s overall grand champion score.
Only one team score per school was used for each competition. Team scores were converted for each competition to give equal weight to all three competitions. After tallying each school’s existing scores with the results of Competition III, Providence Classical Academy and W.T. Lewis Elementary finished tied as the 2013-2014 RARC Co-Grand Champions in the elementary division. Elm Grove Middle School and Southwood High School were named the RARC Grand Champions for the middle school and high school divisions respectively.
Competition III was held at the Bossier Civic Center and was sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), the City of Bossier City, Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center, and Bossier Parish Schools. To learn more about RARC, click here.