Novmber 7, 2017
With terms like microscopes, centrifuges, chemical compounds, and biohazardous waste being batted about on Saturday, November 4, 2017, you may think the Bossier Civic Center was host to a scientific conference. Rather, approximately 210 elementary, middle, and high school teams from public and private schools and homeschool and afterschool organizations were participating the 2017-2018 Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) Competition 1.
RARC, a series of three cyber and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competitions for students in grades 3-12, is now in its seventh year. This year’s theme, Small Wonders, Big Possibilities, allows teams to explore fields like chemistry, biology, and nanotechnology while programming their robots to autonomously accomplish several tasks on a large, colorful mat that represents a laboratory.
“RARC reinforces STEM and cyber fundamentals from the classroom and also provides an environment for students to hone their 21st Century skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. This combination of skills will better prepare students to be productive and successful innovators in the workforce of tomorrow,” commented Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center.
Throughout Competition I, teams accumulated points based on their performance and were ranked accordingly. In the elementary division, W.T. Lewis Team 2 emerged as the first place winner followed by Central Park Team 2 in second place and Plantation Park Team 2 in third place. Elm Grove Middle Team 1 triumphed in the middle school division and was awarded first place. Cope Middle Team 9 won second place, and Haughton Middle Team 6 was named the third place winner. In the high school division, Donnie Bickham Team 1 earned first place while Southwood Team 1 and Donnie Bickham Team 5 took second and third place, respectively.
“I congratulate all of the teams that participated in RARC Competition 1. I remain impressed with the subject matter these students tackle and the skills they demonstrate. Further, I am proud the City of Bossier City can sponsor these learning opportunities for students from north Louisiana and Arkansas. I hope to see even more teams throughout our region competing this year and in years to come,” said Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker.
RARC also includes STEM demonstrations and presentations to provide attendees with a connection between skills used during the competitions and future academic and career pathways. Bossier High 2
School teacher Marco Reyes and his students demonstrated the Parallax® Boe-Bot® and other robots for the elementary students, who will have an opportunity to utilize those platforms in middle and high school as part of STEM and cyber-based curricula developed by the Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC). At the conclusion of the afternoon shift, Mac Orchard of Ingalls Information Security, LLC offered a dynamic presentation to the middle and high school students on the HoloLens™ developed by Microsoft®. The HoloLens™ is the first true augmented reality device to map a room, lock everything in place, and display information in three dimensions. Ingalls Information Security, LLC uses the HoloLens™ to map client networks and the Internet.
RARC is sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Center’s NICERC, Bossier Parish Schools, the City of Bossier City, 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.