Three GEAR UP schools (Hamilton, Tincher, Madrid) participated in the US Navy’s 2015 Los Angeles Regional SeaPerch Underwater Robotics Challenge at the indoor pool at the University of Southern California. Twenty eight schools, primarily high schools and middle schools competed in three different events, an obstacle course, ring retrieval and oral presentation/design of their prepared poster. The challenge was formidable, particularly the ring retrieval and all of the students were highly engaged and fabulous under pressure. The opportunity to be on the vibrant USC campus was an added benefit with the Trojan Invitational Track Meet going on right across the courtyard from where the students were.
In the end, Madrid Middle School took first place for their time in navigating the obstacle course and first place in the overall competition for middle schools.
Congratulations to all of the students who participated and many thanks to the teachers who have dedicated their time to work with the students since October to build the robots and find practice venues in preparation for the challenge. Most were already talking about “next year”!
What is SeaPerch?
SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting. Students build the ROV from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts, following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme. The SeaPerch Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEM) while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum. Throughout the project, students will learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications.
Building a SeaPerch ROV teaches basic skills in ship and submarine design and encourages students to explore naval architecture and marine and ocean engineering principles. It also teaches basic science and engineering concepts and tool safety and technical procedures. Students learn important engineering and design skills and are exposed to all the exciting careers that are possible in naval architecture and naval, ocean, and marine engineering.
Have you ever wondered where the name “SeaPerch” came from? We asked the inventor of the original SeaPerch, Mr. Harry Bohm, and he shared the story with us. Mr. Bohm explains that the name SeaPerch came from the USS Perch, a highly decorated World War II U.S. submarine.
USS Perch was one of a new breed of American submarines and was the first to incorporate an early form of air conditioning. She was launched May 9, 1936 by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, CT and was scuttled by her crew in the Java Sea on March 3, 1942 after being severely damaged during a Japanese depth charge attack two days earlier. The crew was captured and sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp; all but six of the 54 men and five officers onboard returned home after the war.
Her wreckage was discovered in November 2006 by an international team of divers off the coast of Java and was the object of archeological diver exploration.
- A hands-on educational tool
- Fun and challenging
- A curriculum that meets national learning standards
- Integrates STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
- Teaches the teachers
- Builds teamwork and inspires young minds
- Introduces STEM career discussions
A Hands-On Activity.
Students learn best by doing, and during the process of building SeaPerch, they follow steps to completely assemble the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), test it, and then participate in launching their vehicles.
After the SeaPerch robot is constructed, students are encouraged to test their vehicles, deploy them on missions, and compete in a culminating event, the SeaPerch Challenge – a district-wide one-day design competition, to take what they have learned to the next level. The Challenge fosters an end goal, rewards sportsmanship, spirit and presentation skills, as well as mastery of the concepts. Events at the Challenge can include:
- Vehicle performance – maneuvering and recovery
- Innovative design (optional)
- Team presentations – oral presentations to judges
- Design Evaluation
- Build Notebooks – document planning, construction, testing, and learning
- Team spirit and sportsmanship at the event
Winners of local or regional Challenges can compete in the National SeaPerch Challenge, held each Spring.
A Teacher Training Program.
One of the most important aspects of SeaPerch, and one that differentiates it from similar programs, is that it includes training for teachers. The two methods of training are online video training modules or on-site training. The on-site training is offered in several locations at set times throughout the year, and if the teacher has travel funds available for hotel, transportation and travel expenses, and can travel to the site, the training on-site is at no charge for the 1 or 1.5 day training. Continuing education and/or professional development credits may be offered, as educators are often required to attend workshops throughout the year.
An Established Curriculum.
The SeaPerch curriculum has been designed to meet many learning standards and outcomes. With one project, schools are able to teach many of the concepts required for their grade level using a fun, hands-on activity for students. Some of the concepts the students learn during the build include:
- Ship and submarine design
- Soldering/tool safety and usage
- Electricity/circuits and switches
- Depth measurement
- Biological sampling
- Attenuation of light
- Moment arm, basic physics of motion
- Career possibilities
Meets Many Learning Standards and Outcomes: The SeaPerch curriculum has been designed to meet many learning standards and outcomes.
Supports Diversity: The program focuses on presenting the possibilities of technical careers to minorities, girls, and underrepresented populations.
Low Cost Per Student: The price per kit is low. Seed funding or subsidies may be available to help your program get started.
Web Resources & Community: The SeaPerch website provides resources, tools, information, and a community.