Mississippi BEST is designed to inspire and interest students in engineering, science, and technology through participation in an exciting sports-like technology contest. The BEST competition motivates students by challenging them to build a remote-controlled robot that accomplishes a defined task within a competitive setting. A mentor and a school coach guide student teams through the engineering process.
Using only the materials provided, students have six weeks to design, develop, and test a robot that can outperform their competitors. During this time, the students experience the same problems, challenges, and breakthroughs that an engineering team encounters when it takes a product to market. In both cases, there are team dynamics, time constraints, material constraints, and pressure from other teams who are trying to solve the same problem. Placed in a real situation, with real problems, the students provide real (and surprisingly ingenious) solutions. The weeks of hard work culminate in a thrilling day long competition where one team achieves “BEST” performance. The inspiring even combines the excitement of a high school football game with the strategy of a chess match and the intellectual challenge of a science fair.
The heart of BEST is experience of solving a seemingly overwhelming task using simple engineering methods and old-fashioned teamwork. Thanks to this experience, students who participate in BEST are better prepared to meet the challenges of the future.