BEST is an event that inspires and motivates high school students towards careers in engineering, science and technology through participation in a sports-like technology contest. Hosted by the Wichita State University College of Engineering, the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science & Technology) competition motivates students by challenging them to build a remotely controlled robot that accomplishes a defined task within a competitive setting.
Volunteer professional engineers and school coaches guide student teams through the engineering process. Using only the materials in the BEST-provided kits, 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 which names one team the "BEST". This inspiring event 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 the 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 Technology Age.
Inspired by attending the 1998 BEST Finals at Texas A&M, members of the Dean's Circle of the College of Engineering at Wichita State University were enthusiastic in reporting their observations. Members of the Dean's Circle unanimously voted to establish a BEST hub affiliated with the WSU College of Engineering, having the first Kansas competition in October, 1999. This is KANSAS BEST.