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BEST students will show off robots Saturday at Kandi Mall

WILLMAR — The Kandi Mall in Willmar will be the site of a BEST Robotics exhibition from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The exhibition is part of the second annual Minnesota BEST Robotics Competition taking place next weekend at New London-Spicer High School.

BEST stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. BEST Inc. has operated an annual robotics competition nationwide for 20 years.

Students involved in the competition learned of this year’s game, “Gatekeeper,” at a kickoff event Sept. 7 at NLS High School. Schools will compete against each other in timed matches to assemble transistors into logic gates, logic gates into integrated circuits, and integrated circuits into central processing units.

Since the kickoff, students have been designing and building their robots.

According to a news release, nine teams are competing from across the state. Area teams involved are Buffalo Lake-Hector Stewart, Willmar Community Christian School, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg and NLS.

Teams will have the opportunity to test out their robots Saturday during Minnesota BEST Robotics Mall Day just outside the JC Penney store at the Kandi Mall. Teams will practice from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will compete in three-minute matches from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

The finished robots will participate in the statewide competition Oct. 18 and 19 at NLS High School.

Students will do marketing presentations, team exhibits and practice runs from 2 to 9 p.m. Oct. 18 at the high school.

The competition day will run from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at the high school with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m.

Along with the actual robotics competition, teams will be judged on marketing presentations, team exhibits, and their engineer’s notebooks.

Minnesota BEST is the first hub in Minnesota for BEST, a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology and math.

More than 875 schools and 18,000 students participate nationwide. Schools in the program pay no fees, and all necessary materials are provided to them through local fundraising and sponsor donations.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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