500 students and their robots gathered in Allen Arena to compete

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Merrol Hyde Magnet School, Stewarts Creek Middle School and Dickson Area Robotics will move on to the regional competition in December at Auburn University

See a photo album of the robots and teams competing at Music City BEST

Nearly 500 middle and high school students from Middle Tennessee participated in the Lipscomb University and Nissan North America annual robotics bonanza: Music City BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition on Oct. 28, in Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.

BEST is a national six-week robotics competition that allows students to apply the math, science and technology they learn in the classroom to the design and construction of their robot through teamwork and real-life problem solving.

This year, 14 Middle Tennessee schools, including Lipscomb Academy, participated in the competition. Over the students designed and built robots to carry out a specific task: to extinguish a “fire” in an industrial complex, rescue a “person” trapped in the building and quarantine “drums” of hazardous chemicals to prevent them from spilling.

The flames of the fire are represented by plastic drinking cups on shelves, and the robots extinguish them by throwing plastic golf balls and knocking the cups off the shelves. Laying on the floor next to the fire is Manny the Manikin, made from rope and PVC pipe. The robots transport Manny to a stretcher, so he can be transported away to a hospital. The hazardous chemicals are represented by one-quart paint cans with weights inside. The robots will transport the cans away from the fire into a secure area of the game field.

In addition to the robot contest, teams also compete for the best engineering project notebook, marketing presentation, team exhibit and interviews, as well as spirit and sportsmanship. Only the top three teams – Merrol Hyde Magnet School, Stewarts Creek Middle School and Dickson Area Robotics — will move on to the regional competition in December at Auburn University.

BEST robotics is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology through participation in a sports-like, science and engineering-based robotics competition. It began in 1993 with 14 schools and 221 students and today, has over 850 middle and high school with over 18,000 students participating.

BEST Music City is also sponsored by TVA, which provides $100 for each team to use to build their robot design and additional funds to set up the game field in Allen Arena.

Award winners in the 2017 Music City BEST Robotics Competition were:

Battle Ground Academy (Franklin, Tennessee)

  • Rube Goldberg Award for Meritorious Achievement in Robotic Design

Brentwood Middle and High School (Brentwood)

  • BEST Teacher Award (Roberto Marrero)

Cannon County High School (Woodbury)

  • BEST Marketing Presentation

Dickson Area Robotics (Burns)

  • BEST Award (third place)
  • BEST Game Competition Award (third place)
  • BEST Home School
  • BEST Exhibit Design and Construction
  • BEST Team Costume

Discovery School (Murfreesboro)

  • BEST Award (fourth place)
  • BEST Game Competition Award (fourth place)
  • BEST Team Mascot

Merrol Hyde Magnet School (Hendersonville)

  • BEST Award (first place)
  • BEST Game Competition Award (first place)
  • BEST Project Engineering Notebook
  • BEST Spirit and Sportsmanship
  • Lipscomb University Award for Robotic Engineering Excellence
  • BEST Mentor Award (Scott Horton)
  • TVA Safety Award
  • BEST Software Design an Simulation

Riverside Association of Robotics and Engineering (R.A.R.E) (Fayetteville, Tennessee)

  • Founders’ Award for Creative Design

Smyrna Robotics (Smyrna, Tennessee)

  • Most Robust Machine
  • BEST Middle School

Stewarts Creek Middle School (Smyrna)

  • BEST Award (second place place)
  • BEST Game Competition Award (second place)
  • BEST Team Exhibit and Interview
  • Most Photogenic Machine
  • BEST Website Design
  • BEST Team T-Shirt

West End Middle School (Nashville)

  • Blood, Sweat, and Duct Tape Award

Other schools who competed this year were:

  • Lipscomb Academy (Nashville)
  • Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville)
  • Ensworth High School (Nashville)
  • Zion Christian Academy (Columbia)