The Island Robotics team at Port Aransas High School can't reveal details on the project for this year until Monday, Sept 17, but according to team leader Chloe Tugwell, they will be back in space again. The team will be helping out astronauts, not the machines, in the Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) competition.
At the BEST kickoff at Texas A&M University-Kingsville Saturday, Sept. 1, a few members learned how to put together the main parts of the robot including the battery and the servo, while the rest of the team stayed in the main gym to learn more about BEST, which included school spirit and a keeping a highly detailed notebook. When the groups rejoined, the playing field was revealed, and a demo robot showed what has to be done. Members then were allowed to explore the field, take pictures of any part of the robot and field and ask questions on how to build or how to design it.
No class is taken to prepare for BEST, although many members were recruited from a shop or computer science class. All work for robotics is done in the students' spare time after school or during study halls.
The Island Robotics team has been competing for six years and currently consists of 14 members, including eight girls and six boys.
The team has been eligible to go to state five times. Last year however, after making state eligibility, weather conditions kept the team from competing.
Members will learn computers and the mechanics and electronics of a robot and could earn scholarships to Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
"On top of this, it's just a lot of fun. We meet a lot of new people from other schools, and it's a great experience," said Tugwell.