Caddo Hills High School recently attended the Homeland Security Cyber Discovery Camp at the University of Central Arkansas. Only eight schools across the state were invited to this intensive, week long camp exploring the fields of robotics, cryptography, and political science designed for upcoming 10th graders. Participating schools included: Caddo Hills, Calico Rock, Greenbrier, Little Rock Central, Little Rock Parkview, Pine Bluff, Pottsville, and Vilonia. Throughout the week, students programmed robots to run a maze autonomously, play golf and soccer, and run an obstacle course while gathering marbles for the final competition. They also participated in campus wide scavenger hunt based on clues that used various encryption techniques. Political Science discussions, readings, and essays were also woven into the week’s curriculum.
Caddo Hills was one of only two schools that had never attended this camp, so the week’s activities were new to both teachers and students. Most students had never worked with computer programming or cryptography before the camp.
Each day, students competed in a robot challenge, wrote an essay, had political and movie discussions, and sat through college lectures on robotics, cryptography, and political issues dealing with the cyber world.
The finals of the competition were held on Saturday, June 20, 2015 in the UCA Student Center with all eight teams competing with their robots in the last challenge. Parents, teachers, students, and faculty from UCA and Louisiana Tech gathered for six rounds of intense play. Students had to maneuver their robot around an obstacle course in order to gather the most marbles and take them back to a fort the students had engineered to allow the robot in and keep other school’s robots from being able to steal their marbles. Students also created a video presentation describing the week long camp and presented it to a panel of UCA and Louisiana Tech University judges.
At the end of the final competition, Caddo Hills’ point total was 1,756 which was enough to take first place, beating out Pottsville High School who had a week long total of 1,688. Caddo Hills won the final robotics challenge and the video challenge. By winning first place, the school will be receiving $1,250 for their Science Department to purchase robotics equipment. The second place school will receive $750 and all other participating schools will receive $500.
Team members included: Daniel Baker, Hunter Blackwood, Justus Bobo, Colton Cowart, Jesse Hollifield, Emilio Soto, STEM teacher – Will Squires, and Political Science teacher – Brandi Squires.
More information about the Cyber Discovery camp can be found at http://www.nicerc.org/events/cyber-discovery-2-0/.