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Students robotics challenge returns


On Saturday, nearly 100 high school students competed in the 5th Annual Mini-Urban Challenge Louisiana Regional Competition at the Bossier Civic Center, which requires high school teams to design and program a robotic car to autonomously navigate a LEGO® city.

Teams earned 70 percent of their overall score as they exercised their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills on the LEGO® city competition mat. The other 30 percent was earned during an oral presentation in which the teams had to articulate their competition strategy and their use of STEM skills.

In total, sixteen high school teams from Avoyelles, Bossier, Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Orleans, Sabine, and Webster Parishes and Harrison County, Texas, competed over the course of twelve hours.

Best Oral Presentation was awarded to Caddo Career and Technical Center, and Best In Show went to North Caddo Magnet High School. In the overall competition, Cedar Creek High School won first place, while Haughton High School and North Caddo Magnet High School came in second and third place, respectively. Trophies were awarded to the top three teams. Additionally, Cedar Creek High School and Haughton High School earned $500.00 and $350.00 technology awards from the Cyber Innovation Center.

Paul Spivey, Deputy Director of the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), shared, “Hands-on competitions like the Mini-Urban Challenge provide students with a valuable STEM foundation where students are not only gaining experience in programming, but they are also acquiring valuable soft skills. These experiences will be beneficial as students pursue STEM degrees and one day enter into the workforce.”

The Mini-Urban Challenge is nationally sponsored by The Doolittle Institute, the United States Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, John Deere, and LEGO® Education Company. It is sponsored locally by Cyber Innovation Center’s academic outreach program NICERC and Bossier City.

The Mini-Urban Challenge Louisiana Regional Competition in Bossier City is one of five regional competitions that proceed to the national competition. First and second place winners of each regional competition are invited to compete in the 2014 Mini-Urban Challenge National Competition on June 14, 2014. Cedar Creek and Haughton High will represent our region at nationals.

To view pictures from the 5th Annual Mini-Urban Challenge Louisiana Regional Competition, please visit http://www.nicerc.org/mini-urban-challenge/.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.