Oct 6, 2015
Wings & Waves Waterpark
Written by Casey Gill, Waterpark Education
If you haven’t yet heard of SeaPerch, you are not alone.
However, this is quickly changing as educators and the engineering industry across the nation are learning how it can benefit their mission to prepare students for the 21st century workforce.
In education today, there is a craving for programs like SeaPerch, especially with the push for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects through White House initiatives such as Race to the Top and the rigorous demands of Common Core curriculum.
The SeaPerch is a home-built remotely operated vehicle (ROV) submersible about the size and shape of a toaster. It is surprisingly agile, maneuvering by means of three small DC motors.
What makes the SeaPerch revolutionary is that all of its components can be found through a local hardware store or ordered at a hobby shop for under $150 and assembled by nearly anyone.
The ROV was originally conceived as a do-it-yourself project at a time when GeoCities websites were just starting to sprout on the internet and still years before YouTube became a means of sharing ideas amongst backyard engineers.
The instructions occupied only two pages in the spiral-bound title Build Your Own Underwater Robot and Other Wet Projects by Harry Bohm, published in 1997. Yes, it was a printed manual in a book that had to be bought and shipped.
The project gained traction with educators within five years as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) adopted the SeaPerch as part of its MIT Sea Grant educational program.
MIT wanted a fresh idea to attract students to the engineering profession, and so they invested a significant amount of resources expanding the original instructions, creating a thoughtful curriculum, and publishing free online resources which can be found at seaperch.org.
SeaPerch has since partnered with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) foundation and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), who generously donate kits and tools to a limited number of applicants throughout the year.
Today, SeaPerch is spreading throughout the nation from elementary schools to universities.
I am excited to now be coordinating a SeaPerch program through Evergreen Wings and Waves Education (EWWE) to support local schools.
This past spring, the first in-kind grant to be awarded to EWWE by the AUVSI foundation was for five ROV kits and a tool bag, with a total value of $1,080.
When I created the project proposal, I wanted to open the hands-on program to as many students as possible in the Polk, Yamhill, and Marion counties. Upon receiving the news of the grant, we immediately informed local educators of the program and the availability of the kits with widespread interest and applications from educators from across all three counties.
The applicant that stood out the most for this pilot program was Jason Nice’s Scientific Research and Design course at Dayton High School. Mr. Nice encourages his students to learn by doing, which made him a perfect fit for the SeaPerch curriculum.
In September, his class of 35 freshmen began the process of constructing and testing their SeaPerch units, developing their construction, electronic, engineering, and communication skills.
Each team that constructs one of the five SeaPerch units will test their skills to complete a series of underwater tasks at the waterpark on November 12th. The three tasks replicate industry and academic challenges that professionals face in the field.
This program began with inspiration from a few online resources, and so I would like to humbly add this page to the growing collection. The facebook page will be updated every month with along with a blog article and pictures of EWWE’s SeaPerch project development.
It is my mission to support educators with much-needed resources to make our schools the best they can be. I wish to make this a continual dialogue of STEM education, and so all feedback and comments are welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org