This past Saturday, May 4, over 500 students from across the region participated in the fourth Regional Autonomous Robotic Circuit (RARC) competition of this academic school year.
RARC is a series of four science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) 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 IV 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.
Competition IV allowed students to build upon principles that they learned from the first three RARC competitions. Unlike the prior competitions, the challenges remained a mystery to the students until the day of the event. Teams received periodic hints leading up to Saturday that allowed them to prepare for the unknown challenges. During the competition, elementary and middle school teams used instructions released every fifteen minutes to build and program a robot that would autonomously navigate its way through a predetermined course.
After the first round, students were given time to make modifications to their robots and compete in another round. The high school competitors, on the other hand, were given three back-to-back challenges consisting of “the Lazy Susan,” “the Hall Effect Challenge,” and “the Maze.” Teams had to complete each challenge before they received their instructions for their next challenge. During Competition IV, teams earned points based on their performance and were ranked accordingly.
In the Elementary division, W.T. Lewis team six earned first place, South Highlands team one took second place, and Montessori School team two came in third place. In the Middle School Division, first place went to Cope Middle School team one, second place to Cope Middle School team four, and third place to Evangel Christian Academy team two. Haughton High School, Parkway High School, and Southwood High School took home first, second, and third place respectively.
Grand champions from each division were also named based on the teams’ accumulated points from all four competitions held this year. Providence Classical Academy team two, Evangel Christian Academy Team one, and Parkway High School were the 2012-2013 RARC grand champions.
GB Cazes, Vice President of the Cyber Innovation Center added, “The commitment from the students, teachers, mentors, and volunteers all helped to make RARC a huge success this year. We strongly believe that programs like RARC help students to develop a curiosity and passion for learning which will ultimately encourage a greater number of students to pursue a career in the STEM fields.”