The CSM Robotics Challenge was started in 2007 as one of the projects funded through the college's National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. The college received this grant in 2002 to study why Southern Maryland students were not pursuing study in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. We found that active learning activities such as robotics competitions help to make STEM learning fun and interesting for students.
This event has grown over the years to become the premier robotics competition event in Southern Maryland. In 2007, twelve teams from four high schools competed. The following year, in 2008, twenty three teams from thirteen schools competed. In 2009, with the introduction of the junior division of competition, the competition grew to over sixty teams from forty schools. In 2010, over 130 teams particpated and a qualifier tournament was held for the Junior Division.
Each year we will announce a new challenge for the competition. This year, the challenge is "Smart Move". Teams must build robots to compete in the challenge and complete a research project related to the challenge.
During the competition, teams must also appear before panel of judges. See the "Judging" page for more information on the judging sessions.
The tournament is divided into two parts: qualifying rounds and championship rounds. In qualifying rounds, each team will get between four to six matches. Because normally a match consists of two alliances (one "red" and one "blue") of two robots each going head to head, the teams are assigned random partner to form the alliance and will go against two randomly assigned robots forming the opposing alliance.
At the end of the qualifying rounds, the teams are ranked based on their win-lose-tie percentage. Tie-breakers are used when teams have the same win-lose-tie percentage and are based on the closeness of the match.
The top eight teams will advance to the championship rounds. The championship rounds start with each team selecting two other teams (from the rest of the field of teams) to join them as an alliance in the championship rounds. Once there are eight alliances with three teams each, the championship rounds will begin.
The championship rounds are played using the single-elimination style with the winner of each round is determined using the best of three matches. The winner of the final match is crowned the "Winning Alliance" and the runner up is crowned the "Finalist Alliance".