Ready, aim, launch!
This past Saturday, Feb. 9, the Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) introduced an exciting challenge to elementary and middle school students by incorporating the timeless elements of the catapult with the advanced capabilities of present technology. Approximately 600 students from across the region participated in the third RARC competition of this academic school year. RARC is a series of four STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) competitions for students in grades 4-12. The competitions build upon one another and allow students to showcase their STEM skills by competing against other students within their division in a series of STEM and liberal arts challenges. 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.
Prior to Competition III, teams prepared by researching, designing, and building catapults. Teams then earned points by using their catapults to knock down as many of the opposing teams’ pins as possible. Competition III incorporated a liberal arts component as well by having students research the major developments of the catapult and create team banners to emphasize their design concepts. In the true spirit of Medieval competition, teams included a Coat of Arms in their design, which was the focal point of their banner.
Paul Spivey, NICERC’s Deputy Director, shared, “The RARC committee designed Competition III to push the limits of our students and to provide them with a new challenge that incorporated elements uniquely different than any of those used in our past competitions. Once again, the students proved that they were up for the challenge!”
Students of South Highlands Elementary agreed, “In this challenge we liked that everyone had different catapults and we could make our own strategies. After the first round we could change our strategy and keep surprising the other teams. Everyone had their own job and got to do something. No one was excluded.”
Over 130 elementary and middle school teams from Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto, and Natchitoches Parishes and Harrison County, Texas, participated in Competition III. In lieu of this competition, high school teams are scheduled to participate in the Mini-Urban Challenge on Saturday, March 2. Throughout Competition III, teams earned points based on their performance and were ranked accordingly.
Apollo Elementary Team 1 emerged as the first place winner in the elementary division followed by Providence Classical Academy Team 2 in second place and W.T. Lewis Elementary Team 5 in third place. In the middle school division, Haughton Middle School Team 3 earned first place while Providence Classical Academy Team 1 and Northwestern State University Middle Lab Team 3 took second and third place, respectively.
Grand champions in each division will be named based on the accumulated points from all four competitions, and those teams will receive awards in recognition of their excellence after the fourth and final competition.
The final RARC competition will be held on May 4.
To learn more about RARC and to see Competition I, II, and III pictures, please visit www.nicerc.org/regional-autonomous-robotics-circuit/ or find them on Facebook by searching NCIERC.