State Champions - Texas BEST Robotics Competition

GGalena Park won the Texas BEST Regional Robotics Championship this past Saturday. They competed against 47 other qualified teams from across Texas. Along with the First place robot, they also won the 2nd place Most Robust robot, and 3rd place BEST website awards.

The team had previously qualified for the VEX World Championships, and will now also compete at the BEST National Championship held at the same time in Orlando.

I believe that this is the first and only time that a team has qualified for both events at the same competition.

This will make it interesting, as we will have to split the team up to compete at both events.

Congratulations for Texas! I lived and worked in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Palacios, TX, so this is sort of home to me…

We are in the process of trying to do the same. BEST in the Fall (hard with football season, Homecoming on the date of the competition) and SECME/Vex in the spring.

The spring fling is all depedent on a new mini block class that I am trying to organize. I have my principal’s and counselor’s full support, but running into difficulties from others. Irregardless, it is a go, so if any of you can help me, plese send me email.

Despite the fact that I have a degree in scientific computer science and math, we will be using MathWorks for every sensor that is available to VEX. The course is project based and it is not about learning C, it is about learning how to apply math. It is not about learning to program in C language, it is about learning and doing robotics.

Any emails and help would be greatly appreciated. I teach math, and have many prior years of process systems engineering programming experience, so I can talk the language.

This course will be about using the math for an application, and not about programming.

We are new to VEX, but have been doing the BEST competition for 4 years.

Many thanks in advance for your help!


Welcome to VEX, Ann. If you enjoyed BEST, I think you will love VEX. It expands past the basic kit of parts, and lets you be more creative and imaginative. The competition is different as well, with a 20 second autonomous, and 2:00 minute rounds.

If you used EasyC or RobotC for BEST, you can use the same language for VEX. Fairly easy to use, once you get used to it.

One of the reasons I like VEX is that it doesn’t require a lot of heavy tools. The parts can be pretty easily manipulated into the shape that you want them to be in.

There are some excellent resources found in the Wiki pages on this site. I would highly recommend looking them over.

Thank you!

I am really excited about the VEX portion of this adventure. Yes, indeed! It has been a challenge to gather necessary tools and maintain them in a math classroom, but we are fortunate that my classroom door faces the outside with cement walkways, so the sawing and drilling is not in the classroom.

My school is rural and Title 1. Prior to this, we have only been able to meet after school and on the weekends. This is tough for my students due to lack of transportation. If they have transportation, they work, so that interferes with the schedule.

Right now, I am thrilled that my principal is supporting us, and I will have a mini-block class in Robotics and the funds to purchase the various sensors and learn, learn, learn. I will be learning along with my students. I also have full support from MathWorks who has been awesome in their support for our efforts to help me teach our students.

I only have one laptop, but I am fortunate to have a SmartBoard, so all of my students will have the opportunity to program the micro-controller using Mathworks and EasyCv4.

My goal is to help the students realize that they can do this by themselves!



Thank you ALL!

A special thanks to STEMRobotics, bellpride, Rick F. and others who have shared emails with me.

This past week was a rough one. Our new classroom software and hardware is giving us fits. They are replacing a bad server tonight. Meanwhile, grade books need to be printed, attendance needs to be fixed. Students were passed on to the next class when they failed the prerequisite class. We are getting there, but the end of one semester and the beginning of a new one is hectic without problems.

Joyous news! My new Robotics (short) class is definetly enthused and more than ready to do this. My lesson plans for yesterday were to show videos that I had downloaded to a thumb drive and taken to school. The old desktop connected to the Smart Board absolutely crawled. It turns out that the anti-virus software was keeping it from running. So, I ‘winged’ it. I pulled an old Futaba servo out of the box and taught them the difference between a servo and a motor. The students listened, eager to learn. They want to do this. For most, it is their first opportunity to learn about robotics.

Today, I managed to get my laptop working with the SmartBoard and loaded the videos from my thumb drive.

They are so enthusiastic. They want to build a robot and compete, NOW! We are not ready. They have too much to learn, but I wanted to tell you how much the students learned from your videos, what you have shared and the equipment that was donated to us. So, please continue to share the videos, info, etc!

While watching the videos, they learned what autotomous means. They were in awe. Team 254, YOU are awesome! They loved the name of your team.

We have such a long way to go, but we have an entire semester to prove that a robotics class is the best the ever!

Thank YOU ALL! YOU are AWESOME! I can’t believe it. This is reality… I actually have a robotics class. KUDOS to my administrator and math department chair and district math curriculum supervisor who made sure that we were able to do this for our students.

My students also Thank YOU!