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Lifelong Learning

Red River ALC robotics team needs cheering section for Oct. 28 Bison BEST competition

October 24, 2017

Rescuing Manny the manikin, containing dangerous chemicals, and extinguishing the flames is the challenge that Red River Area Learning Center’s robotics team is tackling for this year’s Bison BEST robotics competition sponsored by NDSU’s College of Engineering on Oct. 27-28 at NDSU’s Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.

The Red River ALC team has had six weeks to design, build and test a radio-controlled robot. On Oct. 28, the team will compete against other teams from the region to complete the industrial fire task. Supporters wearing black and red are encouraged to attend and cheer on the Red River ALC team to help the team earn sportsmanship points.

Teams participate in rounds to complete tasks such rescuing Manny the maniken made from rope and PVC pipe; knocking down flames, which are upside-down 16 oz. plastic cups, using plastic golf balls; and moving chemical drums represented by quart-size paint cans. Highest-scoring teams move on to semifinal and final rounds.

BEST, which stands for “Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology,” is designed to inspire students to consider careers in those fields. Besides the robotics competition, the student teams compete for the BEST Awards, which include a project engineering notebook documenting all work they’ve completed, a marketing presentation, the team exhibit and interview, and spirit and sportsmanship.

On Oct. 27, Red River ALC’s team will give its marketing presentation and will be interviewed at the team exhibit. This year’s exhibit is based on the firefighting theme to look like the wooden and brick walls of a partially burned building.

The robotics project involves students in a variety of ways from fundraising to marketing to robot construction and design.

“Students are able to earn English, science and elective credit depending on what they need and what parts of the project they work on,” said Aura Lee Mohror, language arts teacher and team advisor.

As part of the BEST program, engineers, university faculty members or other technical professionals from local industry serve as team mentors, advising and guiding students throughout the design and construction of their robot. The Red River ALC team’s mentor is Glen Meyer from John Deere, and the programming mentor is Paul Mohror from Snappy.

The robotics team will do fundraising by busing tables at Pizza Ranch from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 6 to raise funds to purchase programming software and a router. On Oct. 21, team members were out at West Acres Shopping Center with the other robotics teams, practicing with their robots.

For more information about Bison BEST robotics visit

Photo: Red River Area Learning Center robotics team members tour the Moorhead Fire Station as part of their research for this year’s Bison BEST robotics competition.

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