The Acadia Robot Programming Competitions began in the fall of 2005 with eight high school teams from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board sponsored primarily by Acadia. On October 21st, 2005, the teams met at Acadia for the 1st Annual High School Robot Programming Competition. The impact of this program on the schools and the students was profound. The competitions feature affordable, easy to build and fun to program LEGO MINDSTORM robots and are designed to encourage student interest in math, science, engineering and technology. The students, 30% of which were female and many of whom had never before programmed a computer, learned to design and implement software and hardware for line-tracking, maze solving and object detection and removal. It was evident to all that building robots to complete missions and develop project presentations was also developing great teamwork, entrepreneur and problem solving skills.
In 2006, Michelin Tire Canada joined Acadia as the major sponsor of the 1st Annual FIRST® LEGO® League Tournament to be held concurrently with the 2nd Annual High School Robot Programming Competitions (HRC). Other sponsors of the 2006 event included FIRST, Aliant Xwave, Kings Innovation Council, NSBI, NS OED, EastPoint Eng, NSPC and RIM. The HRC featured 12 teams from 8 high schools composed of kids ages 14-18. The FIRST® LEGO® League had 14 teams from 13 middle and junior high schools composed of kids ages 9-14. Including coaches, there were over 160 participants that came from as far as Yarmouth and Halifax. Over 300 spectators turned out for the event that ran from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm at the main Acadia gymnasium.
In 2007 there were 10 high school (HRC) teams and 17 FIRST® LEGO® League middle school teams.
In 2008 there were 12 high school and 30 middle school teams participating in the November 29th, 2008 competitions.
In the 2009/10 season there were 20 high school and 23 middle school teams registered to compete on January 30th, 2010. However, the snow storm on the previous day forced some teams to withdraw and a total of 34 teams actually competed on the day.
In the 2010/11 season there were 15 high school and 29 middle school teams registered at one point. FIRST® LEGO® League teams were required to participate in FIRST® LEGO® League qualifying rounds at five NSCC campuses. 10 high school teams and 24 middle school teams competed at Acadia.
In the 2011/12 season there were 15 high school and 44 FIRST® LEGO® League teams registered in the province. FIRST® LEGO® League Teams competed at qualifying rounds at five NSCC campuses. 13 HRC teams and 28 FIRST® LEGO® League teams competed in the championship.
In the 2012/13 season 43 FIRST® LEGO® League teams competed at qualifiers and 32 advanced to our Championship at Acadia. The high school competition had 15 register and 10 compete at the Championship.
In the 2013/14 season a new high school competition was implemented and Acadia University became the host site for a pre-designed competition called Robofest, run out of Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan, USA. The season had 15 teams register and 13 compete at the championship. The total registered FIRST® LEGO® League teams were 42, of which 30 were chosen to move from the regional NSCC qualifiers to the Championships, and 29 competed at the event. Due to incliment weather an FIRST® LEGO® League and Robofest team did not show from Cape Breton. The date of the event was February 15th, 2014.
The 2014/15 season had 10 Robofest teams register and 7 compete at the championship. The total registered FIRST® LEGO® League teams were 63, of which 30 were chosen to move from the regional NSCC qualifiers to the Championships, with 27 showing up on competition day. The Championship took place at Acadia on February 14th, 2015. This was the 10th Anniversary of the High School Robot Programming Competitions!
The 2015/16 season the Championship at Acadia was held on February 13th, 2016. This was the 10th Anniversary of the FIRST® LEGO League at the Robot Programming Competition! This season 63 FIRST® LEGO® League teams registered and 21 Robofest High School Teams registered from across the province. Of the 84 teams, 29 FIRST® teams and 17 Robofest teams competed. This is the largest competition that Acadia Robotics has hosted to date with well over 400 members, coaches, and volunteers attending.
The 2016-17 season the Acadia Championship will take place on March 4, 2017. This will be the 12th season of the Annual Robot Programming Compeition!