It’s official. Homeschoolers are from Mars.
At least, ours are. That’s M.A.R.S. with capital letters and periods between, of course, indicating that these are actually Maniacs Attempting Robot Science.
Robots! How cool is that? (Stay tuned for news about how you can support science and score a cheap lunch at the same time.)
Home Educators Around Texoma excitedly, bravely, scientifically, robotically, and a little insanely, announces the formation of our first ever robot team – M.A.R.S. 18 eager middle school and high school students will venture to Sherman, TX on September 8 to accept a challenge to build a remote-controlled robot from a box of spare parts, returning 6 weeks later to compete against 20 other school teams for robotic supremacy.
The robot tournament is hosted by B.E.S.T. Robotics, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology through exciting, competitive tournaments provided free of charge to any public, private or homeschool group brave enough to dive in to a new adventure. (Go ahead – ask me how your school can get involved – I’d love to tell you more!) In addition to valuable science and engineering skills and knowledge about drawing, designing and working with tools, the kids learn teamwork, good sportsmanship (no flame throwers or buzz-saws on these robots), and creative problem-solving. They’ll be designing a website, creating a power-point presentation, and interviewing with judges as they practice important skills across multiple areas.
Each year, the B.E.S.T. tournament features a new obstacle course and a new challenge for the robots. This year’s theme for the competition is Mission to Mars. Check out www.bestinc.org to see all the action.
Now…about that cheap lunch? Here’s the scoop. Although B.E.S.T. generously provides free tournaments and all the parts for the robots, and although we’ve recruited some amazing adults willing to volunteer their time to teach the kids how to use tools and build the robots, M.A.R.S. still needs funds to transport the team to and from the Dallas area three times (more if we win the tournament and advance to regionals). That’s a lot of gas and fast food.
On September 8 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. M.A.R.S. will be hosting a 10 cent hot dog sale at the Wichita Falls Atwoods on Loop 11. You heard right – 10 cents per hot dog! But wait, there’s more. Chili, nachos, pizza, Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke, chips, cookies, cakes…all available for your Labor Day lunch pleasure. You know you’ll be out anyway, and you know you’ll be hungry. Swing by, help out some kids who are excited about learning science (even if they do still want to attach a flame thrower to the front of the robot), and eat nachos. C’mon! Nachos!
Years from now, when Dateline is doing an investigation into why so many famous scientists hail from Wichita Falls, you’ll be able to say you were part of it.
Besides, how often can you say you had lunch on M.A.R.S.?