Approximately 950 future innovators from Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches, Sabine, and Webster Parishes and Miller County, Arkansas, registered to compete in the 2016-2017 Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) of Northwest Louisiana Competition 2 on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at the Bossier Civic Center. RARC is a series of three cyber and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competitions for students in grades 3-12. The competitions require teams to program their robots to autonomously navigate a large competition mat and successfully accomplish tasks related to this year’s RARC theme, Powering the Future.
“RARC continues to grow year after year. At the first RARC competition six years ago, three elementary teams registered to compete. Now over 103 elementary teams are registered,” commented Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker. “With third through twelfth graders mastering concepts like programming, sensors, engineering, cryptology, problem solving, and teamwork through the hands-on activities at RARC, I feel hopeful for our community’s and our country’s future.”
Throughout Competition 2, the teams accumulated points based on their performance and were ranked accordingly. In the elementary division, Central Park Elementary Team 3 emerged as the first place winner followed by Legacy Elementary Team 3 in second place and NSU Elementary Team 5 in third place. For the middle school division, SBC Middle Team 1 triumphed and placed first while Benton Middle Team 9 earned second place and Greenacres Middle Team 5 won third place. Airline High Team 1 took first place in the high school division followed by Converse High Team 2 and Caddo Magnet High Team 4 in second and third place, respectively.
In addition to the robotics challenges, students were treated to an interactive presentation by the Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) team. Jonathan Ownby, known as Mr. O, lead a demonstration that incorporated lessons from the Powering the Future theme. During one part of the demonstration, Mr. O used an air cannon to simulate wind to turn windmill propellers and explained how wind energy can help power homes, businesses, and factories.
“RARC allows students to take the cyber and STEM fundamentals that are being taught in the classroom and apply them to real-world applications. Further, RARC provides teachers with supplemental curricular resources so that concepts demonstrated at RARC can be integrated into the classroom,” said Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center. Nolten added, “In a world of rapid change, educators are tasked with preparing students for jobs that do not exist and ones, that today, are a mere dream. Opportunities like RARC provide students with an additional avenue to explore degree and career fields to which they would otherwise not be introduced.”
RARC is sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), Bossier Parish Schools, the City of Bossier City, Sci-Port Discovery Center, and Caddo Parish Schools. To learn more about RARC and to see pictures from previous competitions, please visit http://nicerc.org/rarc/ or www.facebook.com/CIC.NICERC.