2018 Team Information

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Email blasts will be posted here leading up to and during the competition.

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Most Recent Information is at the top.

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Email Blast #5 sent 10/2:

 

Hello teams!

 

So, with 3 full weeks behind you since Kickoff, how are you doing this week?  You ought to have a robot designed and mostly built that may still be missing a few parts but should be able to move.  Or, maybe not!  As always, if you are totally stuck, please don't give up!  Just ask us for some help!  We can work something out so you get something out of this event. We want all 35 teams to have a moving robot on Game Day!  Don’t forget to keep that team notebook current.  Much easier to do as you move along than try to put one together the week it’s due.

 

A few details:

-There are a good number of useful files we’ve collected and put on this Google drive: DBEST 2018 shared Google Drive  

-If you have any feedback for us regarding the Kickoff Session and/or the Build Session, we'd appreciate your comments and suggestions.

-Reminder that your team number is also your kit number with 4 digits, so use a leading zero.   It should fall in the range of 0150-0199.

-Use that 4 digit number for registering all participants at the national website [details on Google drive]

-Please direct any R-kit questions (missing or failing parts) to Joel Graber at  joel.graber@gmail.com

-Please direct any C-kit questions (missing or defective parts) to Cissy St. John at melissa.stjohn@att.net

-If your team has a website or other social media handles we could use on our website and Facebook page, please forward the appropriate details.  This is optional.  Current year social media tags are given at the end of this email.  Please use frequently!

-UIL teams are expected to self-monitor all participating students’ UIL eligibility and take any appropriate action per UIL rules.

-If you still could use a volunteer mentor for your team, reply to let us know.  We may have to get creative at this stage, but we won’t leave anyone out in the cold.

-BEST Robotics logo files are now available along with a  letter of permission to use them and can be found on our shared drive and on the national BRI File Manager

-A question was raised asking if water could be used in the team exhibit booth for BEST Award contenders, considering the ocean theme for this year.  We have to say ‘no’ to any liquids in that small gymnasium due to safety concerns and host school rules.  So no water in the team exhibit booths.


Worth mentioning separately:

-You should have one or more team members reviewing the game specific information on the national website (bestinc.org), if not daily then at least a few times each week. That would be In addition to fully reading and understanding the rules. “Read the rules.  Read the rules. Read the rules.”  In particular, monitor the Q&A section as it is a living document and updated quite frequently. Any game rule changes will be identified and announced on the Q&A and it is your team’s responsibility to keep aware of these changes.

-The BEST Robotics competition is a student activity, guided by adult teacher/coaches, engineer/mentors, and parent/volunteers.  Please keep in mind that ALL work done on the robot, from design to building to testing and finally driving on Game Day, is to be performed by the students.  Adults can teach, demonstrate, mentor, and supervise, but any parts going on the robot should be the students’ work product.

 

 

Declare for BEST Award (Oct 6):

Non-UIL teams - If your team plans to compete for the Dallas Hub's BEST Award, as opposed to Game Only Award, please let us know at Demo Day or by email reply no later than this date.  If you've already told us, no need to reply.  If you're a UIL participating team, you are automatically set as a BEST Award team.  We need this information to be able to plan space for Display Booths and schedule judges for the Marketing Presentation.  If we don’t hear from you, we’ll have to assume that you are competing as a “Game Only” team.

 

BEST Award Exhibit Booth table/power request (Oct 6):

If you are putting up a Display Booth, please let us know by Demo Day if you want a 6’ folding table that we can provide, and if you need house electric power run to the booth.  The booth size is 8’ x 8’ x 8’ maximum.


Optional BEST Award Friday Evening Marketing Presentation request (Oct 6):
Entirely at your option, but if your BEST Award Marketing Team will be ready to present their pitch on Friday evening (10/19) of Game Day Weekend, between 6:00 PM and 8:30 PM (start times), please let us know so we can make arrangements.  This will give your team relief from doing this on Saturday during the game, although we do schedule teams Saturday presentations to occur during long breaks between matches (unique for each team).  It makes it much easier for us to do that Saturday scheduling if we have some teams already done with that task on Friday.  Either reply by email with your preference or signup at Demo Day for a Friday Marketing Presentation time.  If not, we’ll schedule your team for some time on Saturday.  So far, only Martin’s Mill, Mexia, North Mesquite, and Uplift North Hills have requested Friday presentation times.  We can take at least 8 more teams on Friday.

 

Graduating Senior Award (submitted by the teacher; due Oct 6):
The Graduating Senior Award will be given to one senior Dallas BEST participant based on recommendations from the team's teacher/coach. Please nominate a deserving graduating senior with a description of some of his/her accomplishments, growth, enthusiasm, and impact on: the team, other individuals, you, and the student (any or all categories that apply). Consideration will be given to those students who plan to choose a STEM course of study in college.  Limit your nomination to 250 words or less.

Please include: student's name, teacher’s name, school name, the number of years the student was involved in BEST. The nomination should be submitted by email to Mary Helmick (new email address: 
mary.helmick@bestinc.org) no later than 11:59 PM Saturday, October 6.  No nominations will be accepted after that time. Use the subject line: Graduating Senior Award. 

The hub core team will review the nominations and announce a winner at Game Day, to include a monetary award to be used for the winning student's higher education needs.


The Pete Lohstreter Outstanding Teacher Award (please provide this to your students; due Oct 6):
Your teachers put in a lot of time being the sponsor and coach for your BEST Robotics team and this year we want to recognize that teacher who is the BEST! It’s up to you to tell us why your teacher deserves the recognition of the BEST Teacher. There are no defined requirements to meet, we just want you to tell us why you think your teacher should get the award. Organize your thoughts and put it all together. This is the information we must have: school name, teacher’s name, subjects taught, years in BEST, other activities your teacher sponsors
 
Other things you might want to include when writing your nomination: why does your teacher deserve this award above all the other teachers; what has your teacher done that is special for your team; how do they get you enthused for robotics;  how many hours did your teacher put in to be your sponsor; what did they have to give up to do BEST; what makes your teacher special;  include anything you think will make us choose your teacher to receive this annual teacher award. Put some real thought into convincing us that your teacher is special!  Limit your nomination to 250 words or less.

Please include: submitting student's name, nominated teacher’s name, school name, the number of years the teacher was involved in BEST. The nomination should be submitted by email to Mary Helmick (new email address: 
mary.helmick@bestinc.org) no later than 11:59 PM Saturday, October 6.  No nominations will be accepted after that time.  Use the subject line: Outstanding Teacher. 

The hub core team will review the nominations and announce a winner at Game Day, to include a plaque and monetary award.

Demo Day (Saturday, Oct 6; team schedule below):

Our next milestone event is Demo Day at the end of week 4 on October 6 at Gilliam Academy, 1700 E. Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas 75241, starting at 8 AM, with the last 90 minute time slot starting at 2:45 PM, leaving by 4:15.  We've always had some difficulty getting all of our teams to participate at Demo Day.  It's worth the trip to try your robot on the actual game field, and take notes of your competition, much like a trade show where you can legitimately gather intelligence on your opponents.  (They probably won't show you everything, but you can ask!)  If nothing else, try to send a few folks as a "scouting party" to check out any concerns you have about your game plan as it relates to the game field.  It also gives you an extra week to do some final tuning of your robot design and game strategy.  We're all in this to learn something, so make the opportunities!  See team schedule at the end of this email.  If your time slot won’t work for your team (we did ask for preferences), let us know and we’ll try to work out a swap. School drop-off and parking map can be found on the DBEST 2018 shared Google Drive  

Dallas ISD Schools:  work with Joseph Schelanko at the district central admin. for your bus scheduling.  He may have to swap DISD school slots to work better with the transportation.

 

Notebook Submission (Saturday, Oct 13):

Your team notebook is due by email no later than 11:59 PM on Saturday, October 13.  No exceptions!  All teams must submit a notebook to be eligible to compete on Game Day.  Plan for this!!  Don’t forget to keep it up to date frequently.  This year you will convert and/or scan all of your notebook pages to a single PDF file, with a team appropriate file name, and submit it by email.  Please also include your Demographics Form that can be found on the bestinc.org website, "Participants" > File Manager >  MAIN / 2018 Game Files / Rules / Team Demographics Forms  Email your PDF Notebook with Demographic Form as an attached file to:  michael.janis@bestinc.org.

 

 

Game Day Eve Check-In (Friday, Oct 19)  at Newman Smith High School, Carrollton:

All robots are expected to be brought in for a rule compliance check and left overnight unless failing that check.  Exceptions to allow check-in for some distant teams may be considered with prior arrangements.  We cannot possibly check in more than a few of the robots on the morning of our Game Day, so please plan accordingly.  It is not necessary for your entire team to show up at Check-in.  Pit tables for all teams, and display booths for BEST Award teams (including UIL) may be set up that evening.  UIL/BEST Award teams that indicate they’ll do their Marketing Presentations on Friday evening will be accommodated.

 

T-Shirt Award  (Friday, Oct 19):

Your team's optional t-shirt entry (an actual t-shirt, any size) should be turned in Friday evening before Game Day at robot check-in (delayed to Saturday for distant teams with prior approval)
 

Game Day (Saturday, Oct 20):

We’ll provide more details on Game Day in general as we get close, but you can plan on doors opening at 7:30 AM, first match starting at 9:00, and our goal is to be finished before 5:00 PM.  Clean up help after the event is also appreciated. 

 

Our Newman Smith High School hosts are offering a box lunch option for teams if desired.  Each team will have a signup spreadsheet to allow sandwich options that will be returned to the contact person. You can find the spreadsheet on the above mentioned DBEST 2018 shared Google Drive  .  Please forward your team’s list by email to Meaghan DeLong at:  delongm@cfbisd.edu

 

Remember – no liquids in the gymnasiums, which includes the Team Exhibit Booth for BEST Award teams.

 

 

Regional Texas BEST and Texas State UIL Robotics - BEST Division Contest (Nov 29 – Dec 1): 

For the top teams from our local contest, a number of teams will advance to represent Dallas BEST at the regional contest in Frisco (and only in Frisco this year!).  This will again be a combined contest for the regional Texas BEST and state UIL Robotics Championship – BEST Division.  If your team makes the cut, plan to attend all 3 days due to the combined nature of the various divisions and large number of teams attending overall.  We should have our team quotas soon but we expect it to be around 10 total, like last year.  Advancing teams of any category (Texas BEST, UIL BEST Division, or Game Only) will need to get their notebooks updated (recommended) and turned in some time before the regional competition dates.  More details will be provided as we get closer.

 

 

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Email Blast #4 sent 9/24

:

Hello teams!

 

So, with 2 full weeks behind you since Kickoff, how are you doing?  You ought to be working on the tactical details of your robot design and making at least a few parts.  Or, maybe not!  As always, if you are totally stuck, please don't give up!  Just ask us for some help.  We can work something out. We want all 35 teams to have a moving robot on Game Day!  Don’t forget to keep that team notebook current.  Much easier to do as you move along than try to put one together the week it’s due.

 

A few details:

-There are a good number of useful files we’ve collected and put on this Google drive:   https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1T7S64zF17_XEhaEA2oQDJOqJS5VVZ0_e

-If you have any feedback for us regarding the Kickoff Session and/or the Build Session held that afternoon, we'd appreciate your comments and suggestions.

-Reminder that your team number is also your kit number with 4 digits, so use a leading zero.   It should fall in the range of 0150-0199.

-Use that 4 digit number for registering all participants at the national website [details on Google drive]

-Please direct any R-kit questions (missing or failing parts) to Joel Graber at  joel.graber@gmail.com

-Please direct any C-kit questions (missing or defective parts) to Cissy St. John at melissa.stjohn@att.net

-If your team has a website or other social media handles we could use on our website and Facebook page, please forward the appropriate details.  This is optional.  Current year social media tags are given at the end of this email.  Please use frequently!

-Scheduling requests for Marketing Presentations (UIL/BEST Award only) on Check In Friday evening of Game Day weekend (11/3) can be accepted at any time.   We anticipate around 26 teams needing to present, so the more we can do on Friday evening, the better for us all.   The remaining teams will be scheduled during open times during the Saturday contest.

-UIL teams are expected to self-monitor all participating students’ UIL eligibility and take any appropriate action per UIL rules.

-If you still could use a volunteer mentor for your team, reply to let us know.  We may have to get creative at this stage, but we won’t leave anyone out in the cold.

 

C-kit missing IGUS parts delivered:

The missing IGUS materials at Kickoff Day should have been delivered to all teams.  Let us know if you did not receive a complete IGUS kit this past week.


Worth mentioning separately:

-You should have one or more team members reviewing the game specific information on the national website (bestinc.org), if not daily then at least a few times each week. That would be In addition to fully reading and understanding the rules. “Read the rules.  Read the rules. Read the rules.”  In particular, monitor the Q&A section as it is a living document and updated quite frequently. Any game rule changes will be identified and announced on the Q&A and it is your team’s responsibility to keep aware of these changes.

-The BEST Robotics competition is a student activity, guided by adult teacher/coaches, engineer/mentors, and parent/volunteers.  Please keep in mind that ALL work done on the robot, from design to building to testing and finally driving on Game Day, is to be performed by the students.  Adults can teach, demonstrate, and supervise, but any parts going on the robot should be the students’ work product.

Declare for BEST Award (Oct 6):

Non-UIL teams - If your team plans to compete for the Dallas Hub's BEST Award, as opposed to Game Only Award, please let us know at Demo Day or by email reply no later than this date.  If you've already told us, no need to reply.  If you're a UIL participating team, you are automatically set as a BEST Award team.  We need this information to be able to plan space for Display Booths and schedule judges for the Marketing Presentation.  If you are putting up a Display Booth, please let us know if you want a 6’ folding table that we can provide, and if you need house electric power run to the booth.  The standard hub size is 8’ x 8’ x 8’ maximum.

 

Demo Day (Saturday, Oct 6; schedule below):

Our next milestone event is Demo Day at the end of week 4 on October 6 at Gilliam Academy, 1700 E. Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas 75241, starting at 8 AM, with the last 90 minute time slot starting at 2:45 PM, leaving by 4:15.  We've always had some difficulty getting all of our teams to participate at Demo Day.  It's worth the trip to try your robot on the actual game field, and take notes of your competition, much like a trade show where you can legitimately gather intelligence on your opponents.  (They probably won't show you everything, but you can ask!)  If nothing else, try to send a few folks as a "scouting party" to check out any concerns you have about your game plan as it relates to the game field.  It also gives you a week to do some final tuning of your robot design and game strategy.  We're all in this to learn something, so make the opportunities!  See team schedule at the end of this email.  If your time slot won’t work for your team (we did ask for preferences), let us know and we’ll try to work out a swap. 
Dallas ISD Schools:  work with Joseph Schelanko at the district central admin. for your bus scheduling.  He may have to swap DISD school slots to work better with the transportation.

 

Notebook Submission (Saturday, Oct 13):

Your team notebook is due by email no later than 11:59 PM on Saturday, October 6.  No exceptions!  Plan for this!!  Don’t forget to keep it up to date frequently.  This year you will convert all of your notebook pages to a single PDF file, with a team appropriate file name, and submit it by email.  Email recipient address will be provided soon.  Please also include your Demographics Form that can be found on the bestinc.org website, "Participants" > File Manager >  MAIN / 2018 Game Files / Rules / Team Demographics Forms

 

Graduating Senior Award (submitted by the teacher):
The Graduating Senior Award will be given to one senior Dallas BEST participant based on recommendations from the team's teacher/coach. Please nominate a deserving graduating senior with a description of some of his/her accomplishments, growth, enthusiasm, and impact on: the team, other individuals, you, and the student (any or all categories that apply). Consideration will be given to those students who plan to choose a STEM course of study in college.  Limit your nomination to 250 words or less.

Please include: student's name, teacher’s name, school name, the number of years the student was involved in BEST. The nomination should be submitted by email to Mary Helmick (
mary@ti.com) no later than 11:59 PM Saturday, October 6.  No nominations will be accepted after that time. Use the subject line: Graduating Senior Award. 

The hub core team will review the nominations and announce a winner at Game Day, to include a monetary award to be used for the winning student's higher education needs.


The Pete Lohstreter Outstanding Teacher Award (please provide this to your students):
Your teachers put in a lot of time being the sponsor and coach for your BEST Robotics team and this year we want to recognize that teacher who is the BEST! It’s up to you to tell us why your teacher deserves the recognition of the BEST Teacher. There are no defined requirements to meet, we just want you to tell us why you think your teacher should get the award. Organize your thoughts and put it all together. This is the information we must have: school name, teacher’s name, subjects taught, years in BEST, other activities your teacher sponsors
 
Other things you might want to include when writing your nomination: why does your teacher deserve this award above all the other teachers; what has your teacher done that is special for your team; how do they get you enthused for robotics;  how many hours did your teacher put in to be your sponsor; what did they have to give up to do BEST; what makes your teacher special;  include anything you think will make us choose your teacher to receive this annual teacher award. Put some real thought into convincing us that your teacher is special!  Limit your nomination to 250 words or less.

Please include: submitting student's name, nominated teacher’s name, school name, the number of years the teacher was involved in BEST. The nomination should be submitted by email to Mary Helmick (
mary@ti.com) no later than 11:59 PM Saturday, October 6.  No nominations will be accepted after that time.  Use the subject line: Outstanding Teacher. 

The hub core team will review the nominations and announce a winner at Game Day, to include a plaque and monetary award.

Game Day Eve Check-In (Friday, Oct 19)  at Newman Smith High School, Carrollton:

All robots are expected to be brought in for a rule compliance check and left overnight unless failing that check.  Exceptions to allow check-in for some distant teams may be considered with prior arrangements.  We cannot possibly check in more than a few of the robots on the morning of our Game Day, so please plan accordingly.  It is not necessary for your entire team to show up at Check-in.  Pit tables for all teams, and display booths for BEST Award teams (including UIL) may be set up that evening.  UIL/BEST Award teams that indicate they’ll do their Marketing Presentations on Friday evening will be accommodated.

 

Game Day (Saturday, Oct 20):

We’ll provide more details on Game Day in general as we get close, but you can plan on doors opening at 7:30 AM, first match starting at 9:00, and our goal is to be finished before 5:00 PM.  Clean up help after the event is also appreciated.  Our Newman Smith High School hosts are offering a box lunch option for teams if desired.  Each team will have a signup spreadsheet to allow sandwich options that will be returned to the contact person. You can find the spreadsheet on the above mentioned Google Drive.  Please forward your team’s list by email to Meaghan DeLong at:  delongm@cfbisd.edu

 

Regional Texas BEST and Texas UIL Robotics - BEST Division Contest (Nov 29 – Dec 1): 

For the top teams from our local contest, a number of teams will advance to represent Dallas BEST at the regional contest in Frisco.  This will again be a combined contest for the regional Texas BEST and state UIL Robotics Championship – BEST Division.  If your team makes the cut, plan to attend all 3 days due to the combined nature of the various divisions and large number of teams attending overall.  We should have our team quotas soon but we expect it to be around 10 total, like last year.  Advancing teams of any category (Texas BEST, UIL BEST Division, or Game Only) will need to get their notebooks updated and turned in some time before the regional competition dates.  More details will be provided as we get closer.

 

———————————
Email Blast #3 sent 9/17:

 

Hello teams!

 

So, with 2 weekends under your belts, how are you doing?  Hopefully you have your gaming strategy worked out and are working on the tactical details of your robot design.  Or, maybe not!  As always, if you are totally stuck, please don't give up!  Just ask us for some help.  We can work something out. We want all 35 teams to have a moving robot on Game Day!

 

Your Action – please reply with a preferred Demo Day practice time between 8 AM and 3 PM, or reply to let us know that you have no preference, or, if it can’t be helped, that you won’t be attending Demo Day.

 

A friendly reminder:

The BEST Robotics competition is a student activity, guided by adult teacher/coaches, engineer/mentors, and parent/volunteers.  Please keep in mind that ALL work done on the robot, from design to building to testing and finally driving on Game Day, is to be performed by the students.  Adults can teach, demonstrate, and supervise, but any parts going on the robot should be the students’ work product.

 

A few details:

-Some training materials from Kickoff Day are attached.  Also see this Google drive for more notebook guidance:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sTm53SMc2niXExXPHtEV3iMNbhAd_PGP/view?usp=sharing

-If you have any feedback for us regarding the Kickoff Session and/or the Build Session held that afternoon, we'd appreciate your comments and suggestions.

-Reminder that your team number is also your kit number with 4 digits, so use a leading zero.   It should fall in the range of 0150-0199.

-Use that 4 digit number for registering all participants at the national website [details below]

-Please direct any R-kit questions (missing or failing parts) to Joel Graber at  joel.graber@gmail.com

-Please direct any C-kit questions (missing or failing parts) to Cissy St. John at melissa.stjohn@att.net

-All teams should be able to access any of the provided programming software tools.  The links and codes to access the were provided in email blast #1 sent before Kickoff.

-If your team has a website or other social media handles we could use on our website and Facebook page, please forward the appropriate details.  This is optional.  Current year social media tags are given at the end of this email.  Please use frequently!

-Please reply (to me only), if you haven’t already done so, with either a couple of time slots of your preference for Demo Day between 8 AM and 3 PM for 90 minutes, or to let us know that any time is OK with your team.  If your team cannot attend, please let us know that.  We understand, but you'll be missing a significant practice opportunity.  We’ll send out and post a tentative schedule on the Demo Day section of our website soon.  (www.dallas-best.org )

-Scheduling requests for Marketing Presentations (UIL/BEST Award only) on Check In Friday evening of Game Day weekend (11/3) can be accepted at any time.   We anticipate around 26 teams needing to present, so the more we can do on Friday evening, the better for us all.   The remaining teams will be scheduled during open times during the Saturday contest.

-UIL teams are expected to self-monitor all participating students’ UIL eligibility and take any appropriate action per UIL rules.

-If you still could use a volunteer mentor for your team, reply to let us know.  We may have to get creative at this stage, but we won’t leave anyone out in the cold.

 

C-kit missing IGUS parts:

The IGUS materials were not delivered in time for our Kickoff Day, but we have them now.  Please use the new IGUS parts when you receive them and for those that did get some IGUS parts at Kickoff, you can do as you please with them.  But remember that your robot can only use the items on the kit lists, so just because you might have 2 IGUS tracks doesn’t mean you may use both of them.  Here’s the plan to get the IGUS materials to the teams:

 By mail (sent over the weekend): Frankston, Hawkins, Mexia, Winnsboro (MS & HS)

 Please arrange to pick up at Kaufman HS: Kaufman, Scurry-Rosser, Canton, Martin’s Mill, Fruitvale. Should be in Steve Bucholtz’s hands later today  [sbucholtz@kaufman-isd.net}

 Meadowbrook- Joel will bring with the C-kit and R-kit

 All others: Cissy will drop off your IGUS parts at your school’s front office, and they should call you when that happens.

Our apologies for the delay and confusion.  “Supplier issues”

 

BEST National Participant Registry:

See attached flyer to follow up on the Kickoff Day information.


Worth mentioning separately:

-You should have one or more team members reviewing the game specific information on the national website (bestinc.org), if not daily then at least a few times each week. That would be In addition to fully reading and understanding the rules.  In particular, monitor the Q&A section as it is a living document and updated quite frequently.  Any game rule changes will be identified and announced there and it is your team’s responsibility to keep aware of these changes.

 

Declare for BEST Award (Oct 6):

Non-UIL teams - If your team plans to compete for the Dallas Hub's BEST Award, as opposed to Game Only Award, please let us know at Demo Day or by email reply no later than this date.  If you've already told us, no need to reply.  If you're a UIL participating team, you are automatically set as a BEST Award team.  We need this information to be able to plan space for Display Booths and schedule judges for the Marketing Presentation.  If you are putting up a Display Booth, please let us know if you want a 6’ folding table that we can provide, and if you need house electric power run to the booth.  The standard hub size is 8’ x 8’ x 8’ maximum.

 

Demo Day (Saturday, Oct 6):

Our next milestone event is Demo Day at the end of week 4 on October 6 at Gilliam Academy, 1700 E. Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas 75241, starting at 8 AM, with the last 90 minute time slot starting at 3 PM.  We've always had some difficulty getting all of our teams to participate at Demo Day.  It's worth the trip to try your robot on the actual game field, and take notes of your competition, much like a trade show where you can legitimately gather intelligence on your opponents.  (They probably won't show you everything, but you can ask!)  If nothing else, try to send a few folks as a "scouting party" to check out any concerns you have about your game plan as it relates to the game field.  It also gives you a week to do some final tuning of your robot design and game strategy.  We're all in this to learn something, so make the opportunities!

 

Notebook Submission (Saturday, Oct 13):

Your team notebook is due no later than 4 PM that day.  No exceptions!  Plan for this!!  Don’t forget to keep it up to date frequently.  This year you will convert all of your notebook pages to a single PDF file, with a team appropriate file name, and submit it by email.  Email recipient will be provided soon.  Please also include your Demographics Form that can be found on the bestinc.org website, "Participants" > File Manager >  MAIN / 2018 Game Files / Rules / Team Demographics Forms

Thanks!  Good Luck!  Hope to see you all at Demo Day!!

 

Game Day (Saturday, Oct 20):

We’ll provide more details later, but we wanted to let you know that our Newman Smith High School hosts are offering a box lunch option for teams.  Each team will have a signup spreadsheet to allow sandwich options that will be returned to the contact person. We’ll follow up later, but we wanted to get this word out early.

 

 

———————————
Email Blast #2 sent 8/29:
Hello Teams!

This is the second of several email blasts sent to all of the Dallas BEST Robotics registered teams throughout the competition.  Thanks for competing this year and we hope to provide you with a challenging and fun contest with the theme of "Current Events". 

 

Here's the schedule of milestone events.  We highly encourage your team to attend all 3 face to face events.


Game Reveal             Saturday, August 25, 11 AM               virtual - YouTube BEST Robotics
channel:   https://www.youtube.com/user/bestrobotics

Mentor Info Session    Wednesday, Sept. 5, 11:30 AM          virtual - optional 1 hour session using Texas Instruments WebEx tool (details below). 
Kickoff Day                 Saturday, September 8                      Kaufman High School, Kaufman

Demo Day                  Saturday, October 6                           Gilliam Academy, Dallas
Game Day                  Friday-Saturday, October 19-20        Newman Smith High School, Carro
llton

For teams advancing to the regional/state contest:
UIL/Texas BEST         Thu/Fri/Sat Nov 29 – Dec 1                Dr. Pepper Arena, Frisco

It’s almost time to get this thing started!  Hopefully you were able to watch the universal Game Reveal live last Saturday, or streamed later.  Now you’re ready for the BEST part – Kickoff Day!  We hope all 36 teams are still planning to compete.  We're counting on it!  But if you do have a last minute change, please let us know ASAP and don't be a 'no show' at Kickoff next Saturday.  

Please reply to this email immediately with an estimate of attendees from your team (total students and adults).  We need to hear from all 36 teams on a best guess head count by the end of this Friday (8/31).  We'll be a bit crowded this year, so a head count would be very much appreciated.  We may have to move parts of the larger teams to an overflow area.  If your team just cannot attend, in any way, shape, or form, let us know that and we’ll work out details on getting your kits delivered.  We prefer teams be represented at Kickoff, but we understand that circumstances may prevent that.  Our goal is to have full participation from all teams from Kickoff Day all the way to Game Day.

Kickoff Day Info:
Location is:
Kaufman High School, 3205 S. Houston St., Kaufman, TX  75142, about 35 miles Southeast of Dallas just off US-175. 

We’re hoping that a drive to the country and that fresh air there will do us all some good!  See attached flyers for details.  Enter the campus from Houston Street.  Busses will use the student parking lot at the rear of the school. You can follow the signs for visitor stadium parking. Teams will enter through the courtyard and check-in at the cafeteria entrance.  We will have Kaufman robotics students available to help direct teams.  Additional vehicles may park in the teachers parking area, however, building entrance will need to be through the cafeteria.

Doors open at 8:00 AM, so please don't get there too early and expect to get in.  Please do be there in time to check in and settled so we can start the briefing at 9:00.  We'll provide some breakfast items and drinks.  We should be finished with all of the Kickoff activities no later than noon.  Please commit to a Demo Day (10/6) time slot at your team check-in if you have a preference.  If you are flexible for Demo Day, let us know that and we appreciate your flexibility. 

Rookie and other teams that are pre-approved for the afternoon Build Session, please indicate your lunch break preference (‘early’ or ‘late’, and that time will float).  More details given below.

After check-in and that light breakfast, teams will proceed to the Fine Arts Center Theater for the game Briefing.  No food or drinks are permitted in the theater.  Classrooms have been reserved for breakout sessions. Room numbers for each session will provided at check-in.  The optional Afternoon Build Session will be located in Room 254 (engineering suite). This room is located on the second floor of the main building. Elevator access is available if needed.

Suggested team supplies for Kickoff:  camera, notebook, small parts sorting box (for Consumable Kit fasteners, etc.), and your programming notebook computer to get help with installation of any software.  You will have access to all of the game field drawings, part numbers, vendors, etc. from the internet, so no detailed measurements should be necessary.  We’ll provide a briefing on the game, scoring, rules, kits, and then have a game demonstration.  After then, you’ll be permitted to check out the field and ask questions while some of your team will attend the break-out sessions described below and others will be picking up the 2 issued kits.

We will not be printing out the rules this year.  You can obtain them from the national BEST Robotics, Inc. website.  See below.

You will be issued your team’s Returnable Kit (R-kit) and your Consumable Kit (C-kit).  Please be prepared to load these materials into an appropriate sized vehicle.  The largest pieces are some 2' x 4' sheets of plywood and the longest pieces (as issued) are some 5' PVC pipes.  We will call teams one or two at a time for kit distributions.  If time permits and your team is ready before the game briefing at 9, you can request to pick up your kits early.  We recommend that you perform an inventory of both kits.

Break-out sessions will be available for Notebook Training and Software Training using EasyC (tentative).  Have no more than 2 of your students plan to attend these sessions and they can share what they learned with the rest of the team.

Software License Information:
All software access instructions and license codes (where necessary) were provided in a separate email sent on 8/17 (email blast #1).  As noted above, we will (tentatively) provide some software training at Kickoff, and it would be most helpful if you show up with your software already loaded on your laptop and ready to go.

Game Rules Now Available
New this year was the universal Game Reveal held last Saturday on the BEST Robotics YouTube channel (
https://www.youtube.com/user/bestrobotics ). In addition, game rules, field drawings, kit bills of materials, Q&A, etc. were all unlocked on the BEST Robotics, Inc. national website (http://www.bestinc.org under “Participants” and then “File Manager”) .  Feel free to view the rules and Q&A and start strategizing now, but only strategizing.  Please hold any questions to our hub or the national Q&A until after the Kickoff briefing.  You are NOT authorized to start building anything until after Kickoff since you won’t have your materials until then anyhow. 

You will be given this year’s password at Kickoff (like in past years) for any parts of the national file server aren’t unlocked.  Software files will remain locked with password protection since they are reserved for BEST teams and restricted from the general public. 

Afternoon Build Session Teams (rookie teams and others by arrangement only):
For those staying for the afternoon Build Session, lunch is on your own.  There are several places to eat in the area around the school.  See attached flyer for details.  Delivery can be arranged thru the restaurant of your choice or you may leave the school for lunch and return for your turn in the shop (works better for smaller teams).  Of course, bringing a sack lunch may be your preference, and we’ll provide space for your team for that or delivered food.  We would like to have the teams plan to have lunch in 2 or more shifts so we can work through lunch and get as many teams through as many stations as quickly as possible.  Please sign up for your preferred lunch break at Kickoff Check In

Teams staying for the build session, please try to bring: closed toe shoes, earplugs, safety glasses.  We’ll have some, but would prefer you bring your own.  Also, restrain or don’t have: loose clothing, hair, or jewelry.  Due to space and demand, we will have to limit student participation to around 5 students at any one time per school for the Build Session.  We will have space available for other students to work out strategy, review rules, ask questions, etc. while the other teams are working through the stations.  If you are not a rookie team this year, you may ask to stay, but depending on the demand we may have to decline your request.

We can only allow a limited number of students in the shop area at one time for safety reasons, so we will only allow students, along with their teachers, in the shop on a controlled basis.  We’ll have a staging area for students to wait their turns.  Unfortunately, large teams cannot expect to have all of their students participate.

The following teams are designated as Rookie teams and are invited to attend the afternoon session.  If you do plan to attend, please reply to confirm along with an estimated head count if different from your head count for the morning session.  If your team was left off this list and you consider yourself to be rookies, let us know that.  If your team is on this list and you do NOT plan to stay for the afternoon Build Session, please let us know so we can plan accordingly.

Frankston High School                   -confirmed     
Grapevine High School                                      
Robert Hill Middle School 
McDonald Middle School                -confirmed     
Meadowbrook Middle School
Mexia High School                           -confirmed     
LG Pinkston High School    
Scurry-Rosser High School                         -confirmed            
Winnsboro Memorial Middle School 
Young Women’s Leadership Academy      

The following teams have requested to attend the afternoon session and are approved.  If you would like your non-rookie team to also be considered for the afternoons session, please let us know ASAP.  We ask that you only request this if your team has challenges getting access to tools or you have some other extenuating circumstances we should consider.

[none at this time ]

You will find attached a couple of files with some more details of the UIL component of the BEST Robotics competition in Texas.  We were asked to get these to the teams to help clear up any confusion.

BEST of luck to you all!  See you next Saturday (9/8), and we hope you have an enjoyable Labor Day weekend holiday, right after you reply with the requested head count!  If you have any problems getting to Kickoff, call or text Jon at 469-693-9168 or Steve Bucholtz at 817-897-8833 for assistance.  Our goal is to have “Zero No-Shows” at Kickoff.

Regards,
Your Dallas BEST Robotics Core Team

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September 5, prior to Kickoff:  Optional and tentative info session for potential volunteer engineer/mentors, teacher/coaches, administrators/parents, or anyone else interested.  We typically go over the general format for the competition (not the game specifics) and give some suggestions for mentors, coaches, and teams to be successful.  Q&A with some experienced teachers and mentors is usually the BEST part of the session.  We usually present this both in person at some meeting room and also broadcast using WebEx for those that cannot attend in person.    We had to make this an “over lunch” session and virtual, but hopefully it can still work for some of you that are interested. 

 

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On-line Attendees only
Click to join:
https://ti.webex.com/ti/j.php?MTID=m96184272eac69dfdaac1a5cc57383680
Alternatively, enter meeting number 714 370 729 at:
http://ti.webex.com
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BEST Robotics volunteer lunch and learn
Date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Time: 11:30 am, Central Daylight Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00)
Meeting number: 714 370 729

Meeting password: (This meeting does not require a password.)
Teleconference: 972-995-7777   71886635#

CoCo BEST mentors and TIers Keith Melcher and Otis Gorley and TI retiree Joel Graber will:

·         Discuss the basics of the VEX control system used for BEST robotics and present a demo of the system

·         Show how to “cardboard” a robot, which includes methods teams can use to prototype their robot with simple cardboard patterns

·         Give an overview of what to expect as a mentor and tips and tricks on how to be effective

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Email Blast #1 sent 8/17:

Hello Teams!

This is the first of several email blasts sent to all of the Dallas BEST Robotics registered teams throughout the competition.  Thanks for competing this year and we hope to provide you with a challenging and fun contest with the theme of "Current Events". 

 

Here's the schedule of milestone events.  We highly encourage your team to attend all 3 face to face events.


Game Reveal*            Saturday, August 25, 11 AM              virtual - YouTube BEST Robotics channel: 
https://www.youtube.com/user/bestrobotics
Kickoff Day                 Saturday, September 8                      Kaufman High School, Kaufman

Demo Day                  Saturday, October 6                           Gilliam Academy, Dallas
Game Day                  Friday-Saturday, October 19-20        Newman Smith High School, Carro
llton

For teams advancing to the regional/state contest:
UIL/Texas BEST         Thu/Fri/Sat Nov 29 – Dec 1                Dr. Pepper Arena, Frisco

*What's the Game Reveal event?
 This year BEST will have one universal Game Reveal launch date for all teams across the country to see the challenge at the same time.  This will be a web based YouTube video that will go live at the designated day and time.  You’ll be able to see the challenge and begin brainstorming immediately.  See attached Word Document and PDF file for more details and social media tags.  We’ll still review the game and answer questions, along with kit distribution, as usual at Kickoff Day.

 

What's UIL Doing This Year?
 The optional Texas UIL Robotics Competition – BEST Division (3rd year), is limited to public, UIL participating, high schools only.  The only major change from last year is that this is now a regular UIL Academic competition, no longer a pilot program.  You should have indicated during your team registration if you want to participate in the optional UIL component, and you should understand that your team must participate in the BEST Award with all of the additional requirements.  You will receive the invoice from Best of Texas Robotics sometime after Kickoff Day for the UIL fee that all UIL teams will have to pay to cover the added cost at the state contest, whether you advance to the UIL state contest or not.  Eligible schools may change their status using the EventBrite registration page, but the invoice has to be paid by the deadline that they'll provide, otherwise the UIL component will be automatically dropped for your team.  The UIL activity will not affect our local Dallas BEST hub contest from your point of view other than at the end of the competition we'll have a 3rd list of team rankings of the top UIL competing teams in addition to the usual top BEST Award teams and top Game teams.  More details available at:  "BEST of Texas Robotics":  
http://www.bestoftexasrobotics.org/ 


What's next?

Late August or early September, prior to Kickoff, -TBD-:  Optional and tentative info session for potential volunteer engineer/mentors, teacher/coaches, or anyone else interested.  We typically go over the general format for the competition (not the game specifics) and give some suggestions for mentors, coaches, and teams to be successful.  It’s also a good overview for any administrators or sponsors that want to learn more.  Q&A with some experienced teachers is usually the BEST part of the session.  We usually present this both in person at some meeting room and also broadcast using WebEx for those that cannot attend in person.    We don’t have a firm date/time/location for this, but if you are interested, let us know. 

 

September 8, morning:  Kickoff Day on Saturday, September 8, at Kaufman High School, 3205 S. Houston St., Kaufman, TX  75142.  Doors open at 8:00 AM for team check in and early material distribution, along with a light breakfast.  Game briefing starts at 9:00 AM.  We usually finish between 11:00 and noon.  

September 8, afternoon:  All rookie teams are invited and strongly encouraged to attend the optional afternoon Build Session that day, where we'll bring in some shop tools in addition to Kaufman High School opening its shop to a limited number of team members to allows them to begin supervised, hands-on work for several common, basic robot components.  This is "on the job training" at its finest!  If you are a rookie team, we do need to know which ones are planning to stay for this and how many students and coaches will participate from each team, so please reply with that information.  We cannot have all students from the larger teams work through all of the stations, but those that do the tasks can certainly take the knowledge and skills back to share with the rest of the team.  We might be able to accommodate a few of the returning teams depending on rookie teams participation, so if your returning team is interested, let us know (if you haven’t already) and "we'll talk about it".  No promises, at least not right now!  Lunch is on your own.

Software Access:  Below you will find some information on obtaining the relevant software tools that our sponsors have provided.  All of the software programs are available now using those instructions.  One change from past years is that we no longer will need to provide unique, individual team license codes for the new version of EasyC since it is now a shared or pooled license.  You do not have to do any programming to compete at BEST, but it’s very useful to be able to do some simple coding changes to the default software.  Software training is planned as part of Kickoff Day.  Details to come.

What do we need from you right now?
1. A reply email so we know we’re getting through and that you still plan to compete.  Since most of our communications will be by email, please make sure we have the correct and working address. 
2. Having a 2nd email address or even 3rd person on our email list will help ensure your team won't miss any important information.  A well-organized team might have a student in charge of hub communications.  Send us your additional contact's info if it wasn’t on your EventBrite registration.
3. When you do reply at any time, please Reply to Sender (only), and also include both your name and your school so we don't have to look it up!  36 teams is a lot to keep up with.  Same request goes for new email inquiries.
4. If your situation has changed and your team will not be able to compete at the Dallas hub this year, please let us know ASAP so we can open up your team slot to a team on our wait list.  We are at full capacity with 36 registered teams and are turning away schools that want to compete.
5. For UIL eligible schools, if you want to change your UIL registration status (either direction), please do so immediately using the EventBrite registration page.  If you are competing as a UIL school, please arrange to have the fee paid by the deadline using the instruction included in the BEST of Texas invoice.
6. If you have an interest or know of someone that could benefit from the information session described above, please include that interest in your reply.
7. If you are having any difficulties with the BEST contest now or anytime in the future, let us know right away.  We're here to help!  The last thing we want to see is a team dropping out because they got stuck and couldn't get any help.

Regards,
Your Dallas BEST Robotics Core Team
http://www.dallas-best.org/
http://bestinc.org/

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Registration opened 5/7/2018 on EventBrite.  Contact hub for URL and access code.

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From our neighboring CoCo BEST hub, offering an intro programming webinar.  This material will also be presented at our Kickoff Day in one of our breakout sessions

·        Introduction to VEX control system programming, using EasyC as example

·         Date:
                
o   Thursday Sept 6th,  7pm, ~1 hour + Q&A time

·         Location:
                
o   Remote – Webex and dial in number

       o   Webex Attendee: click to join: https://ti.webex.com/ti/j.php?MTID=m4a8891ab6f537bdd2cfde5cb4dab1e94
                
                
o   Teleconference:
                                  US Toll free: 1 877 561.6828 
                                  Participant passcode: 159 983 13#  

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