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Gaudet Goes Underwater!

The Gaudet Seaperch Team At New Bedford High School.  December 7, 2013 Photo: Amy Kalif
The Gaudet Seaperch Team At New Bedford High School. December 7, 2013 Photo: Amy Kalif

Congratulations to the first ever Gaudet Underwater Robotics Club for completing the Fourth Annual Seaperch Derby at New Bedford High School this past weekend.  Gaudet brought over twenty five students who eagerly participated in three competitions designed to test their ROV piloting skills.

For the last 4 months, the students have been working on underwater ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) during an afterschool program at Gaudet.  Students from grades 4 to 8 designed and constructed a Seaperch ROV in an effort to gain more exposure to the STEM fields and engineering – and to have a ton of fun.

“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.”

The Seaperch program was brought to Gaudet by a generous grant from The Office of Naval Research in an effort to increase students to the STEM fields.  Throughout this program, students were teamed up with engineering and technical personnel from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center as well as many parents from the community.  Students were exposed to building and soldering circuit boards, basic wiring, measurement and construction. 

At the end of the quarter long project, the students entered into the Seaperch Derby.  The Regional Seaperch Derby is run by the Office of Educational Outreach at Naval Base in Newport.  At the derby, students from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts were given real world scenarios in which the ROVs and drivers were tested on  speed, agility and the ability to locate, collect and move objects submerged in the water – all potential tasks a real world ROV could engage in. 

On the day of the event, Gaudet sent teams with names like W.A.T.E.R , The Cyber Bass, The Aquabots, The Underwater Wires, The Robotic Whales, The Sea Serpents, The Sea Motors, The Nautical Engineers, and The Cyber Barracudas.

At the end of the day, the students of Gaudet did not have a team that qualified for The National Seaperch Derby.  However, many students were overheard thinking of plans to overhaul and modify their ROVs in an effort to make them better – and in the end, that is what we are looking for.

There were lots of smiles and laughs, a lot of observing and spying on other teams designs, and a solid plan for the future was laid.  Keep a look out for these teams in the future.  They are excited and determined.

A very special thanks to the Office of Educational Outreach at the Navy Base in Newport and the Undersea Science and Engineering Foundation, Inc. – particularly Candida Desjardins, Chris Hanson, John DiCecco, Bill Ferreira and Russ Racette. Their help and guidance with this program was invaluable.

Also a very special thanks to the entire contingent of parent volunteers who donated their time to make this program a success.

For more information about Seaperch:  http://www.seaperch.org/about



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