Judging and Awards

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2004 Championship Event

This year’s Texas BEST Regional Championship will be held in SMU’s Moody Coliseum on November 12-13.

Getting Involved

For information on how to get involved in BEST, visit the BRI website.

Judging and Awards

Table of Contents

Awards at Texas BEST

Judging and awards at Texas BEST carry forward the recognition used at the local hub level. Three competition areas are judged — the Special Awards, the Game Division, and the BEST Award Division.

Special Awards

Three categories of Special Awards recognize achievement in the design and build of robots. First, second, and third places for Founder’s Award for Creative Design, Most Photogenic, and Most Robust are awarded for machines that best meet category criteria. These categories are judged during the game competition.

Two categories of Special Awards recognize team enthusiasm and sportsmanship. First, second, and third places for the Best Team Shirt Design will be awarded. Outstanding Sportsmanship (first place only) will be awarded to the team that best exhibits the principles of good sportsmanship as well as a great attitude. The selection for Outstanding Sportsmanship is determined by the competing teams through a voting process.

Teams earning Special Awards receive gold, silver, and bronze plaques.

Game Division

The Game Division yields the finishing places in the competition matches. At Texas BEST, all teams compete in this division. Teams with robots finishing first, second, and third in the game matches receive gold, silver, and bronze trophies along with cash awards to support their school BEST programs.

BEST Award Division (Texas BEST Award)

The third competition area is the BEST Award Division, considered equal in stature and recognition to the Game Division. BEST Award represents the overriding philosophy of the BEST program — that every team that builds a robot and competes, and shares BEST with others, is a winner.

There are five categories judged in this division (referred to as the Texas BEST Award at the Championship) — including a review of technical documentation in a project summary notebook, a presentation to judges, a table display with interviews, spirit and sportsmanship, and robot performance during the competition. The scope of the judging involves a rigorous evaluation of the technical, team-building, and promotional efforts of candidate teams. Teams are evaluated not only for technical aspects of producing a robot, but also for efforts at teamwork, broad-based recruitment, marketing, mentoring younger students, and promoting BEST in their communities.

Only a select group of teams from among 60 at Texas BEST may compete in this division. The BEST Award winning teams at the local level that advance to the Championship are eligible for this award, and also are seeded teams in the Game Division.

Similar to the Game Division, trophies, and school awards will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winning teams of the 2004 Texas BEST Award. The Participation Guidelines for BEST Award are outlined on a separate page of the web site.


Texas BEST Championship Grants

A $500 cash award will be provided to the top-placing team in both the Game and Texas BEST Award Divisions.

Cash award amounts for team placements are:

  • First place: $500

Recipient schools are asked to allow their teams to decide how to share this recognition. Possibilities are establishing a school scholarship fund, purchasing books or computers, purchasing needed equipment for the BEST team, or sponsoring another local community or school science activity.


Trophies are awarded to the first-, second-, and third-place teams in both the Game and Texas BEST Award Divisions.

Participation Plaques

Each Texas BEST team receives a plaque recognizing its achievement in advancing to the Championship.

Special Awards

Winning teams in the Special Awards Division are recognized with award plaques. All Texas BEST teams are eligible for these awards:


Awarded to the team that makes best use of the engineering process in consideration of offensive and defensive capabilities in machine design. Awarded in recognition of BEST founders Steve Marum and Ted Mahler. [1st, 2nd, and 3rd places]


Awarded to the team whose machine requires the least maintenance during and between matches and is generally the sturdiest machine in the competition. [1st, 2nd, and 3rd places]


Awarded to the team whose machine is the most eye-pleasing and exhibits good fit and trim of external components. [1st, 2nd, and 3rd places]


Awarded to the team that has the most original game-related shirt design worn by team members during the contest; based on most creative use of the game theme/concept The type of shirt (T-shirt vs polo shirt, etc.) will not be a factor in the judging. [1st, 2nd, and 3rd places]


Awarded to the team that embodies the principles and attitude of good sportsmanship in their conduct and attitude towards other competitors. [1st place only]

2004 Texas BEST Award — Participation Guidelines

The Texas BEST Award is presented to the team that best embodies the concept of “Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology.” This concept recognizes that inclusiveness, diversity of participation, exposure to and use of the engineering process, sportsmanship, teamwork, creativity, positive attitude and enthusiasm, and school and community involvement play significant roles in a team’s competitive experience and contribute to student success in the competition beyond winning an award.


The BEST Award teams from each participating hub in Texas BEST that advance to the Championship will be seeded as teams in the Game Division and be qualified to enter the Texas BEST Award competition. BEST Award teams at Texas BEST are required to participate in the Game Division as well as the BEST Award Division.

Student Participation

In accordance with the BEST philosophy, materials submitted by teams must be the work of students. The involvement of student peers in auxiliary roles to support a school’s official BEST team with the documentation — i.e., journalists, photographers, artists, musicians, media personnel, etc. — is encouraged.


Each candidate team must respond to Texas BEST concerning commitment to active participation in all five categories of the BEST Award Division. Response must be made on the “Commitment to Participate” form on the Texas BEST website by Wednesday of the week following the local hub contest. The team must commit to active participation in all five categories of the BEST Award competition.

Presentation, table displays and interview registration: Each team will register for judging times in these two areas on the Web with a “cluster sign-up” that includes pre-grouped time slots for the presentation, table display and interview, and optional team photo. Cluster sign-ups will open on Monday, November 1st and will be filled on a first-serve basis until full. The deadline for sign-up will be Friday, November 5th. Any candidate team that has not signed up for a cluster by Friday will be assigned one on Saturday, November 6th.

The cluster sign-up procedure is being used to facilitate teams’ scheduling of activities and to help them make more efficient use of time in meeting the required judging for this award.

Categories of Competition

The team must commit to active participation in five categories of BEST Award competition:

  • Project Summary Notebook submitted in advance of Texas BEST
  • Presentation on Friday of Texas BEST
  • Table Displays and Interviews on Saturday of Texas BEST
  • Spirit and Sportsmanship review on Saturday
  • Robot Performance on Saturday

Any team that fails to participate in all categories will be disqualified and recommended to the hub for ineligibility to advance as a Texas BEST Award team the following year.

Seating at Texas BEST

As with all teams at the Championship, Texas BEST Award candidate teams may not rope off reserved seating for their teams before Saturday. Review the seating map posted on the web site for allowed seating areas.

Texas BEST Award Recognition

Teams ranked first in the Texas BEST Award Division will receive awards and trophies comparable to those finishing first through third in the Game Division:

  • First place: $500 school cash award, trophy, gold medals for all team members

Ties will be allowed only after detailed review by the judges and the approval of Texas BEST. Awards will be presented immediately following the competition’s conclusion on Saturday.


Each team will be mailed a copy of its score sheets by December 15, 2004. Top rankings will be posted on the Web.


Inquiries about the Texas BEST Award guidelines must be submitted to the Texas BEST web site Q&A; board for posting and response to all teams. Please do not contact the Texas BEST office (e-mail or phone) with these questions.

An optional information session for final questions and answers is scheduled for Friday morning of the Championship. Check the schedule on the Web for time and location. Attendance is limited to two representatives per team, which includes a coach/mentor.

Evaluation of Teams for the Texas BEST Award


Evaluation of competitors will be based on the criteria outlined in these guidelines. An evaluation score of a total possible 100 points will be composed of the following:

  • Project Summary Notebook — 30 points possible
  • Presentation — 25 points possible
  • Table Display and Interviews — 25 points possible
  • Spirit and Sportsmanship — 15 points possible
  • Robot Performance in Competition — 5 points possible

Judging Procedure

A distinguished team of judges from the private and public sectors with expertise from technical and non-technical professions will evaluate teams, using the following procedure:

  • A separate panel will judge each category. Horizontal judging (i.e., one panel of judges evaluating one category) will be utilized to increase the consistency of scoring across categories. Judges for the Project Summary Notebook and Presentation categories will serve on a rotation schedule so that no two judges review the same group of teams.
  • As each team completes a category, it will receive a category score that is the average of the individual scores of the judges reviewing it.
  • The team’s total scores for the first four categories will be combined to determine 95% of the possible BEST Award points.
  • The fifth category, Robot Performance in Competition, will determine the final 5% of possible BEST Award points.

The Texas BEST Award competition has historically been very competitive. Teams should know in advance that scores among many teams frequently differ by only fractions of a point.

Throughout the judging process, the judges also take into consideration the resources available to teams to conduct their BEST programs (financial or technology resources, for example).

The judging procedure will include a question and answer session on Friday morning of the Championship. This session is optional for teams and intended to provide clarification of final questions teams may have about their evaluation process. Attendance will be limited to two representatives from each team, which includes a coach/mentor. See the schedule posted on the web site for meeting time and location.

Texas BEST Award — Criteria for Judging Categories

Category I: Project Summary Notebook

(30 Points)The purpose of the Project Summary Notebook is to document the process the team used to design, build, and test the team’s robot.


The team must meet the following specifications for the notebook:

  • Submit in a standard 3-ring binder with a maximum 2″ ring size.
  • 30 typed pages or less
  • Within the 30 pages, include a description of how the current year’s game theme is related to current technological practices or scientific research (minimum of 2 pages, maximum of 5 pages out of the 30 allotted).
  • The binder cover must identify the school, team name, and teacher contact name, phone number, and email address.
  • The document must include a description of the process the team used to design and complete its robot.
  • The typed document must be prepared on standard, 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, double-spaced, one side per page, using 1″ margins and a business-style font no smaller than 12 pt. (Times New Roman is the preferred font.) Single-spacing is acceptable in tables and outlines.
  • As supplemental appendices to the 30 pages (or less), the team should provide additional material as support documentation, such as drawings, photos, organization charts, minutes of team meetings, test results, etc. This material should directly support the process described in the primary document and not reflect activities related to community or promotional efforts, spirit development, or team-building. Supplemental appendices are limited to a maximum of 20 pages.

The notebook will be judged on a scale of 30 points, evaluating documentation on the following:

  • brainstorming approaches
  • design creativity
  • analytical evaluation of design alternatives
  • offensive and defensive strategies
  • implementation of the engineering design process
  • support documentation
  • the notebook’s overall quality and compliance with specifications

Each team’s notebook must be received in the Texas BEST office by 5:00 p.m. on the following dates:

Local competition weekendNotebooks due to Texas BEST
Weekend of October 9, 20045:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Weekend of October 16, 20045:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Weekend of October 23, 20045:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Weekend of October 30, 20045:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Mail notebooks to:

Texas BEST
c/o Sandy de Britain
Southern Methodist University
6251 Airline Road, Suite 331

Prepare mailing label in format above and include the Texas BEST telephone number (214.768.4556) for overnight mailings. Texas BEST cannot be responsible for failure on delivery of material due to incomplete or incorrect address information. The notebook will be returned to the team after its presentation session on Friday.

Category II: Presentation

(25 Points) Each team will make a 20-minute presentation to the judges on Friday afternoon of Texas BEST. For the oral presentation, the team should view themselves as employees of a “company” that is marketing their “product” (robot) to a potential buyer (judges). This marketing team is an integral part of the engineering team that has designed a specialized robot. The marketing presentation should provide information about their company, the engineering team involved in the design and construction of the product, and why their product is the best one on the market that can complete the assigned tasks. The potential buyer will be assessing the following:

  • The company’s design and manufacturing process (engineering process of “design to market”, including a discussion on the advantages of your company’s robot design)
  • The technological resources your company used to design and construct the robot
  • Marketing strategies (e.g., school and community involvement, promotional efforts, etc.)
  • Fundraising efforts and discussion of how funds were allocated
  • The company’s demographics and operations (e.g., diversity of team members involved, team building experiences, displays of sportsmanship, etc.)

The team must meet the following requirements:

  • A minimum of four students must actively participate in the presentation. Adults are not allowed to participate. Representation by student presenters from more than one grade level is encouraged and will be considered in the evaluation as part of the team’s recruitment efforts.
  • A maximum of eight representatives for the team may be in the presentation room, including the student presenters and adult coaches/mentors.
  • The presentation format is the prerogative of the team. An overhead, TV/VCR, PowerPoint projection equipment (includes a CD drive), and a plug strip will be available for multimedia presentations. Additional equipment may be brought by teams but must conform to existing room layout. Teams will not be allowed to rearrange furniture in the presentation rooms.
  • Videotaping by team representatives with their own equipment will be allowed during the presentation. The person(s) handling videotaping will be counted in the eight maximum number allowed.

Each team must arrive at the presentation area (downstairs in the Blanton Student Services Building) no later than 15 minutes in advance of its 30-minute presentation time period and must have completed registration check-in.

Each team will give a 20-minute presentation:

  • 15 minutes: Team will set up and present to the judges any information they wish to convey marketing their product (robot).
  • 5 minutes: Team presenters will respond to questions from the judges concerning their presentation and BEST experience.

The team will have an additional 5 minutes after its 20-minute presentation for breakdown and exiting the room. Five minutes will be scheduled between presentation sessions to allow judges time to confer.


Presentations will be evaluated on a scale of 25 points, with consideration of:

  • use of available technology (CAD or other drawings, web page development, computer simulations, etc.)
  • design and manufacturing process (engineering process)
  • marketing strategies
  • fundraising efforts/strategies
  • company/team demographics and operations
  • the presentation’s overall quality

Registration for a presentation will be part of a “cluster sign-up” that includes pre-grouped time slots for presentation, table display and interview, and an optional time photo. Cluster sign-ups will open on the Web on Monday, November 1st on a first-serve basis, and will close on Friday, November 5th. Any candidate team that has not signed up by Friday will be assigned a cluster on Saturday, November 6th.

Category III: Table Displays and Interviews

(25 Points) The purpose of the Table Displays and Interviews category is to communicate through a display, and through discussion with judges, information about the team’s efforts to promote BEST in the community and schools; to foster BEST spirit, camaraderie, and participation; to give evidence of sportsmanship; and to assess the level of student participation in the robot design and construction process.

Table assignments will be made by the Texas BEST office. A map of Moody Coliseum and Dedman Center that includes table assignments will be distributed at registration check-in.


The team must meet the following requirements for the table display:

  • The space allotted for each team table display includes a 6′ table (29 inches wide). One electrical power outlet will be provided per team. The total display area for the display once setup is completed must not exceed a 10’x10′ area (square footprint). Other tables and display items may be used but must be brought by the team. Any audio-visual equipment needs and extra extension cords will be the team’s responsibility. Teams may begin setup of their exhibits on Friday morning after 9 am.
  • Use of the table is optional. Please indicate on the Commitment to Participate Form whether or not your team will need a table.
  • Judges will review table displays on Friday afternoon as part of the 15-minute slots for this category scheduled in teams’ cluster sign-ups.
  • On Saturday, teams must have their displays open and staffed with at least one student between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (with exception of the lunch break from approximately 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). Each team must have at least one student present at its pit table during these hours. Judges will conduct interviews with both adults and students at tables, in the pit area, and in the stands during this time. Breakdown of tables may begin after 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
  • Although reasonable effort will be made by Texas BEST staff to monitor the table display area, each team is responsible for security of its own material.
  • Candy and other food items are not permitted at table displays as complimentary handouts. Teams found to have such items will be subject to Moody Coliseum and Dedman Center penalties and disqualification from the Texas BEST Award competition.

Table Display: The table display will be evaluated on a 15-point scale. Displays should provide information on the promotion of BEST, including the following:

  • recruitment and information sharing with other schools
  • presentations and demonstrations
  • use of technology, display models or boards, or multimedia in promotion of BEST
  • creativity in design and presentation of display
  • publicity and fund-raising activities
  • compliance with above guidelines

Interviews: Interviews will be evaluated on a 10-point scale. Interviews are meant to assess the following:

  • students’ enthusiasm for and learning experience from BEST
  • the level of student participation in robot design and construction
  • the recruitment and representation of students for the school’s BEST team
  • effective communication skills

Times for table displays and interviews will be part of the cluster sign-up for this category as well as the presentation and optional team photo. Cluster sign-ups will open on the Web on a first-serve basis beginning Monday, November 1st through Friday, November 5th. Teams that have not signed up for a cluster by Friday will be assigned one on Saturday, November 6th.

Category IV: Spirit and Sportsmanship

(15 Points) Judges will evaluate this category on Saturday of the Championship. They will observe the spirit promoted by the team during the competition rounds as well as the teams’ conduct throughout the day in the seating area, concourse, game floor, and pit area. Judges will also receive input from Texas BEST officials concerning observations about teams’ conduct in Moody Coliseum and Dedman Center on Friday.


Spirit and Sportsmanship will be evaluated on a 15-point scale. Additionally, teams will act as a “fifth judge” by submitting a ballot during the competition to vote on spirit and sportsmanship of their fellow teams.

Team Ballot: For the team ballot, each team will receive a ballot at their exhibit table and a list of the candidate teams. Teams will vote for three teams (excluding themselves) that demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship. Each team must turn in its ballot by Saturday at 3:00 p.m. to the registration table. Teams are encouraged to turn their ballots in on Saturday afternoon so that they have ample time to observe other teams. Any team attempting to trade votes with another team will be disqualified from receiving any of the ballot points. Every team that turns in a ballot will receive four points. Each time a team is voted for by another team, it will receive two points (not to exceed a total of 15 points). The ballot score will be averaged with the other scores for Spirit and Sportsmanship by the judges for a total score in this category.

Spirit Stick: To facilitate judging on Saturday, each candidate team is asked to bring at least one “spirit stick” for identification in the seating area. Specifications include:

  • school name prominently displayed and visible by judges from a distance
  • maximum of 5 spirit sticks per team
  • pole constructed of PVC pipe (should not be pointed or sharp on either end)
  • maximum height of 8 feet

Spirit sticks are meant solely as a means of team identification by the judges during the competition. Excessive, non-functional decoration will not be considered in the judging evaluation. Please do not attach spirit sticks to the seating in Moody Coliseum. (Tape is prohibited.)

Spirit includes the vigor, enthusiasm, and animation displayed by team representatives. Teams can use posters, cheerleaders, musicians, and mascots to increase the level of spirit. Judges take into account the variety and geographic distances of teams attending Texas BEST, and the differing capacities to bring large numbers of supporters to cheer them in the stands.

Sportsmanship includes outward displays of sportsmanship, grace in winning and losing, and conduct and attitude considered befitting participation in sports.

Category V: Robot Performance

The fifth category, Robot Performance, will determine the final 5% of possible BEST Award points. These five points will be based on the total game points earned throughout the regular Gave Division competition (prior to championship rounds) of all 60 teams at Texas BEST:

  • Team finishes in top 20% of all teams competing — 5 points
  • Team finishes in top 40% of all teams competing — 4 points
  • Team finishes in top 60% of all teams competing — 3 points
  • Team finishes in top 80% of all teams competing — 2 points
  • Team finishes in top 100% of all teams competing — 1 point
  • Team is unable to score any points during competition — 0 points