Who ate the apple? That was one of the mysteries approximately 175 elementary, middle, and high school teams from public and private schools and afterschool organizations in Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches, Sabine, and Webster Parishes, and Miller County, Ark., had to solve at the 2017-2018 Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) Competition 3 on Saturday, April 28 at the Bossier Civic Center.
RARC is a series of three cyber and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competitions for students in grades 3-12.
“RARC is so much more than robots. For example, today’s elementary and middle school challenges focus on forensics. The teams will examine virtual fingerprints, blood types, and DNA to figure out who ate their apple from the laboratory refrigerator. Meanwhile, the high school teams are learning about chemistry and bioluminescence. Our Small Wonders, Big Possibilities theme this school year has also allowed students to explore biology, genetics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, and physics in addition to technology, programming, and mathematics. The structure of the competitions teaches teams valuable 21st Century skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. RARC provides lessons and skills that will help our students be successful in their future academic and career pathways,” commented Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center.
To demonstrate one such academic and career pathway, RARC invited the North Louisiana Criminalistics Lab to the competition. Kari Dicken, a Forensic DNA Analyst, offered a presentation on forensics, the education requirements for a career in forensics, and the various career opportunities in the field. She also provided an overview of the North Louisiana Criminalistics Lab and how it benefits our local community.
During the first round based on the pre-published guidelines and a second mystery round, the RARC teams accumulated points and were ranked accordingly. In the elementary division, Legacy Team 2 emerged as the first place winner followed by Legacy Team 4 in second place and W.T. Lewis Team 1 in third place. Greenacres Middle 6 triumphed in the middle school division and was awarded first place. Evangel Middle 1 won second place, and Benton Middle 12 was named the third place winner. In the high school division, Benton Team 1 earned first place while Converse Team 2 and Southwood Team 2 took second and third place, respectively.
Grand champions were also named based on an overall circuit score, which is a tally of the highest point total earned by each school’s top team at each competition. Scores from all three competitions were given equal weight. After calculating each school’s existing scores with the results of Competition 3, the following schools/organizations finished in the top three in each division: W.T. Lewis (Elementary School, 1st Place); Legacy (Elementary School, 2nd place), Plantation Park (Elementary School, 3rd place); Benton (Middle School, 1st place); Elm Grove (Middle School, 2nd place); Cope (Middle School, 3rd place); Benton (High School, 1st place); Caddo Magnet (High School, 2nd place); and Southwood (High School, 3rd place). All grand champions received technology awards to further the robotics programs at their schools.
“The City of Bossier City has co-sponsored RARC for seven years. I am proud that our community can offer a program that provides an integrated learning experience for students as well as a program that invests in our local schools with funds for technology. I hope these funds will benefit the schools and allow more students to participate in RARC next year,” said Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.
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.
You can see a gallery of winners below: