GISD students build underwater ROVs
In 2015, Senior Navy Chief Aaron Johnson approached GISD Superintendent Fred Brent with the offer of a grant that would allow the school district to start a SeaPerch program. This year, more than 100 students in grades 4 to 12 are participating. Amy Beran, special projects coordinator for GISD, explains that SeaPerch is an underwater robotics program that provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and math by working together to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from a low-cost kit. Each team is comprised of four to eight students who build an ROV and learn to pilot it through underwater obstacle courses. Locally, teams compete against each other in timed races at the Georgetown Recreation Center indoor pool. They also present informational posters and take part in rigorous interviews with SeaPerch judges. Teams may go on to compete at the regional and national levels. Beran says, “Last year, we had six teams advance to the national level.” One of those teams included eight girls from Benold and Forbes Middle Schools.
One team member, Benold student Hailey Marbibi, says of the program, “SeaPerch was a fun experience that taught me a lot about robotics and gave me an inside look into the world of engineering and STEM.” Teammate Sammy Bautista, also a Benold student, adds, “Nationals was an unforgettable experience! After a year of preparation, our building, testing, and researching finally paid off.” This year, 57 GISD teams are participating in SeaPerch, and the district will host the regional competition on February 20, 2016.
SeaPerch is a national program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and managed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation. Learn more about the program at www.seaperch.org.