BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) is a program
designed to show youth how engineering can be fun. The BEST program sponsors a sports-like contest where local high school
students work as a team to build a remote controlled robot designed to
accomplish a given task. Each team is given an identical collection of
parts from which the machine is to be built. Only materials specified on
the kit list can be
used. The build process involves teamwork, brainstorming and ingenuity. Education
and industry professionals volunteer their time as coaches/mentors to
offer guidance in the design and construction processes. Several
restrictions apply to help make the competition simulate "real
world" business and engineering environment.
- Constrained development time (6 weeks)
- Constrained design components (identical kits provided)
- Specific design requirements (size, weight, etc.)
The teams all gather together on a common game kickoff day at all the
local hub sites, are shown the game field, and are given:
- The time period of the contest. The game is limited to a six week
period to simulate a product time to market constraint. In the real
world, a late product doesn't sell. In the game world, a late
product means that you don't compete.
- The resources for the contest. Each team is given an identical box
of odd parts, fasteners, materials, and a radio controller for
motors. In the real world, a new product must be built within a cost
and budget. In the game world, the machine can only be built with
- The specifications for the contest. At kickoff, a detailed game
task description will be given to each team. This description is the
most closely held secret in the process, known only to a select few
BEST game designers before the kickoff. In the real world, a new
product must meet the customers requirements and specifications. In
the game world, the machine must meet size and weight requirements
while still completing the game task.
The competition typically consists of seeding rounds in the
morning and a double-elimination tournament in the afternoon.
Schools are encouraged to bring their bands, cheerleaders, mascots,
banners, etc to add to the sports-like atmosphere.