Best Robotics, Inc.

Rating: 4.82 stars   89 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Philanthropy

Location: 217 Ramsey Hall Auburn University AL 36849 USA

Mission: BEST is a non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology, and math through participation in a sports-like, science- and engineering-based robotics competition.
Programs: The program involves having middle and high school students design, build, then demonstrate a robotic machine to play a sports-like "game". Engineers from local industry act as mentors to guide the students in the engineering process, teaming and other business principles. The contest is designed to simulate a real-world business and engineering environment. The contest simulates:
1) Time to Market - through a limited time period (only 6 weeks);
2) Design to Cost - by providing a "kit" of raw materials from which the robot must be designed. No other parts are allowed; 
3) Design to Function - by requiring teams to build a robot that meets design restrictions such as size/weight and still performs specific tasks in the game to earn points. Students learn other aspects of product development such as advertising, fund raising, technical writing, business operations, teamwork and leadership, etc. There are no entry fees and all materials are provided for the participating schools. There are many hubs (local contest sites) throughout the United States. Each hub sets it's own budget, performs it's own fundraising and executes the local competition.  All hubs use the same game, kit materials and time-frame for the contest, as defined and controlled by BEST Robotics, Inc.  The budget for a typical hub is approximately $1200 per team.  Hubs host from 8 to 32 teams.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 3 stars  

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.

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

the Dallas hub

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.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

BEST has provided my daughter and the students on her robotics team the challenge to grow in many domains. I've been continually impressed at the professional quality of their work and how motivating it is for them to work at this level. The creativity and skills involved go far beyond just building and driving a robot. What the teams bring to the competitions makes them great fun.

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

attending competitions and also noticing the rapid growth of skills and leadership in my daughter as she learns the various tasks and skills including building and programming the robot, working effectively with others and trying out and becoming a driver for the BEST competitions.

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

reduce the noise level at the competitions.

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The BEST Robotics competition has helped our robotics team in many ways. It provides opportunities for learning about design and construction of robots to perform specific tasks. In that process, the students learn to work as a team, both in the development of a viable robot and in the creation of the documentation, display, and all the other aspects of the competition. I have seen tremendous growth in the students who have taken advantage of this great opportunity.

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

Participation in the competitions for the past 3 years.

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

Ask that they not make the competitions so loud.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Since 1995, BEST Robotics has been changing the lives of high school students in the Central Texas area in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields. Having a competitive robotics opportunity like BEST Robotics gives the students a goal to reach, challenges to overcome, and working specifications to design within - this makes engineering exciting, and boosts confidence and intrigue in the STEM subjects so that they continue these topics beyond secondary education. Few programs in the world make this kind of opportunity accessible while keeping a "sane" barrier of entry (cost, experience required, etc...). In the 8 years I have personally invested in working with students in this program, I have seen a 90% post-secondary graduation rate in a STEM-related field after participating in BEST; this isn't just because STEM-oriented students tend to participate in these programs, this is because these programs give students a direction to look forward to and guidance on career paths in STEM fields. Students I mentor keep in touch with me through their post-secondary education, and I find this also gives them confidence to succeed in STEM-related education.

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

I am a transplant from another state where BEST had not reached before completing my secondary education, but by being a mentor in the BEST program it has taught me a lot about managing diverse groups, time management, and specifications.

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

I would advertise this program a lot more.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Review from Guidestar