Middle School Defeats High Schools, Earns Bid to Texas BEST State Robotics Competition

LEAGUE CITY, Texas, Nov. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Clear Creek Independent School District’s Westbrook Intermediate School Robotics Team, known as WIRED, won the 1st Place overall at the North Houston BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robotics Competition on Oct. 30. The team also took 1st place in Marketing Presentation, Website Design, and the Founder’s Award for creative robot design. The competition, Demo Daze, was hosted at Westbrook Intermediate School. The 1st Place BEST Award is for excellence in the areas of engineering notebook, marketing presentation, exhibit booth and interviews, and robot performance. The BEST organization considers the BEST Award a higher level of achievement than the Robot Award, which is based on the scores the robot earns on the playing field.

WIRED, which stands for Westbrook Intermediate Robotics Engineering Division, is a team composed of thirty-one 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the WAVE GT Magnet Program in the Clear Creek Independent School District, which is in the south east suburbs of Houston, Texas. This is the 22nd year the team competed in BEST, and is led by NASA robotics engineer and mentor, Les Quiocho, and faculty advisor, Lisa Pfeifer. Other adult mentors and parents assist with drive team practice, robot build safety, marketing critique, and website construction. The WIRED team culture is based on older students training younger students to take over as team leads when the older ones move up to high school. Based on their skills and interests, students join a subsystem team such as programming, CAD, website construction, strategy, community outreach, power tool operation, marketing, and exhibit design. All of these skills, along with a Critical Design Review and interview abilities, are necessary to compete.

The students decide how to build the robot depending on the challenge of the annual competition. At kickoff, the teams receive a box of PVC pipes, plywood, plastic and metal pieces, string, block aluminum, rubber, wire, nuts, and bolts and the students are tasked with fabricating a robot from scratch. Named after the Greek goddess of safety, this year’s robot, Soteria TDR, must demolish a tower, recycle pipe bundles, wire and scrap tile, while preserving the site environment. Safety is a key component in the game, just like construction and demolition. This year’s challenge, called Demo Daze, also required the robot to be operated manually by remote control and autonomously.

WIRED is known in the Houston robotics’ community as a team willing to mentor other teams and help them get a robot ready for competition. The team demonstrates their robot in community outreach events and at local elementary schools to educate the public about the benefits of BEST Robotics and STEM.

WIRED advances to Texas BEST Regional Championship in Frisco, Texas, on Dec. 2-4. The team will compete in all categories against the top teams from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma, many of which are engineering magnet high schools. This is the 15th year WIRED has advanced to Texas BEST with the first qualification coming in 2006.


Lisa Pfeifer


SOURCE Clear Creek Independent School Service