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February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

I have been a judge for the Best robotics competition in North Texas, sponsored by the University of North Texas. I have never seen anything like it before, it is far beyond high school science fairs. The students are creative, enthusiastic, and truly involved. I observed students testing, repairing, and retesting malfunctioning robots, moments before competition, all without adult help or even hints. The students knew their creations inside and out and were proud of their products. I also looked over their project logs containing preliminary designs, prototypes, and various refinements.

This is the best student program I've ever seen for getting high school students interested in technical and engineering careers.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Judging the results of all the student's hard work in building robots to perform a specific set of tasks.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find commercial sponsors to help pay for more of the component costs. Some smaller schools were at a material disadvantage comapered to bigger, richer schools.

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

BEST Robotics is a grass-roots organization run by local Hubs.
Each Hub finds their own sources of funding (usually from local corporate sponsors).
Each Hub provides a Robotics competition kit to 8-30 schools, and holds a local competition. Winners go on to Regional
competitions.
Unlike some other Robotics competitions, this program is "free to schools":
- there is no fee to participate, no registration, no kit purchase req.
- consumables are provided
- return kit of electronics is loaned out
But school groups often need their own budget for tools and transportation to competition events.

A large part of the BEST Robotics experience is following the Engineering Design Process, and documenting that process in an Engineering notebook.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how kids come together to document and build a robot, and learn basic engineering and craftsmanship skills. These experiences lead encourage some kids to follow careers in STEM fields.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

be more organized. Provide more training and share training and best practices from hub to hub.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

I have been a referee for West Texas Best for several years and have also helped to construct the playing field for the robotics contest for the past few years.

Best is a great chance for students in Jr Hi and High School to learn about technology, Electrical Entineering, Mechanical
Engineering, Computer Science, and compete in a nation wide contest to show their achievement.
Bobby

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

student work and achievement

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase student participation

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

I've taught 8 years and my students have participated for 7 years. BEST Robotics helps light the fire under my students to achieve their fullest potential. It opens their eyes to the numerous possibilities that await them after middle school and high school. For some, it helps to solidify the choices they will soon make for their adult lives. The problem solving processes and interpersonal skills learned here serve the students for the rest of their lives regardless of what kind of field they eventually choose.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have students who have gone on from this contest to do wonderful things. I've had students whose parents come to me and say, "We never knew he/she had this kind of talent. Thank you so much for introducing our child to robotics." You can see it in their faces when the light bulb finally goes on for a student. BEST Robotics works!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Once the organization grows large enough, I would make separate divisions for middle and high school. I would also weight the GAME portion of the scoring in the BEST Award much, much heavier than the presentation portions...the GAME portion is where the excitement is...that's where we will win over students to the field.

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

BEST Robotics plays such a vital role in our North Alabama community and the state of Alabama. Involvement from the K-12 schools as well as the business partners that help sponsor the events and provide volunteers is growing exponentially. This event directly impacts the economic growth in this area due to the abundance of high tech companies that depend upon pipeline of potential employees in STEM related professions. Calhoun Community College is proud to host the Tennessee Valley BEST hub and to support the state and national level competitions as well. BEST is the Best!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

....having enrollment increases in our Engineering, CIS and Technology programs.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

....find sponsorships to fully fund the schools' participation in the events and provide the teachers a stipend for all of the many hours beyond the classroom that they spend working with the BEST teams.

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

I am an advisor in Houston County. BEST has been a GREAT experience for both the teachers and the students! We hope to continue with this great program!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Houston County.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None!

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

I am a middle school teacher and this was my first year. I found this to be a great activity for students to learn about engineering and problem solving. I think my students would have gotten more out of the experience if we would have had better support from industry.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the Dallas hub

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make sure that every team has an engineer that will spend at least 1-2 hours a week advising and helping the students of each team.

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

BEST Robotics has been in my life since freshman year of high school. I competed every year, and by my senior year I knew I wanted to be an engineer. I started college as an engineering students in 2006 and now I am graduating this year with a BS in Electrical Engineering.

I volunteered
every year at Denton County BEST and Texas BEST, and it was great to see students get excited about engineering. This program was the BEST thing that could have happened in my life, and I will support it anytime, anywhere.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a student in high school, a volunteer, and a board member at DCBEST.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get more schools involved and participating in the competition.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

February 22, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 22, 2011

I have coached in the BEST robotics competition for the past 3 years. I have also been involved in coaching in several other competitions with which I can compare the BEST competition. BEST is, by far, the most beneficial competition to the student. Students are involved in an engineering competition that so closely mimics "real world" engineering that they learn invaluable field lessons. Students get the chance to attach an engineering design problem, set a schedule with milestones and then complete the actual design and test it. Although I have taken my students to several competitions over the years, the one I keep coming back to is BEST!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A great opportunity to let my students jump into the world of engineering. I have observed growth in these students in their ability to approach the problem and in their ability to work as a team.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I cannot think of an area that needs improvement. The organization has so many volunteers that are so willing to assist with any issues that arise. The leadership is fantastic and the competitions are very well organized and managed.

February 21, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 21, 2011

As an engineer and ballplayer I've done a lot of coaching. I probably spend $20/wk on this program and ya know what, it's worth it! When I ran into this program my oldest daughter was a soph. The next year they needed someone to keep the program going so I picked up the ball. After 2 daughters and a son (about 8 yrs) I thought about passing the ball, but they still needed someone (w/ a garage & tools) so I decided that even though my youngest has down's there isn't really a good reason she can't pitch in. This is her 2nd year and she is just starting to get into it, which is normal for what I see since the freshman are generally intimidated by the Sr's. The program takes some investment (broken drill bits & plenty of mountain dew) but the satisfaction comes in several ways.
Someone realizes that they can do something with a tool (ryobi, dremel whatever) that they never used before.
Someone picks up a concept and runs w/ it, (4 bar linkage, slider, whatever).
The best day is the day of the competition. The group realizes that the robot actually works! And if we're in the competition to go to the next level (about 4 times in 10 yrs) then the excitement of the group is unbelievable.
The secret is to teach them to build, not build it, then use the KISS method (keep it simple sir).

As a mentor the excitement is that every year I see a new group of students, and the challenge is to work with the tools you have (and I mean the students).

BTW, I grew up using tools and it amazes me how many students don't even know how to use a belt sander.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Not sure what you want here but I would say on the face of the students as they compete with other schools, or a student who now has the ability and confidence to put a screw in a cabinet handle using a power screwdriver.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give more help and recognition to the directors and board members who make this event possible yet they get the same salary I do....... nothing but satisfaction that a high school student has gained a new skill before they head into adulthood.

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