After weeks of drafting, building, and tinkering, sixth-graders put their underwater robots to the test. In small groups, they lowered cubes with PVC pipe frames into the bright blue water of the Santa Catalina pool and used wired controllers to get their robots to scoop up neon-colored rubber squids from the depths.
Some teams were more successful than others. As one group of students tried to solve a problem with their robot on the pool deck, their neighboring classmates were cheering a successful squid grab. But then, it's all part of the learning process.
In Kelly Miller's science class, students spend the second trimester learning about buoyancy and buoyant materials, electrical circuits, how to use a multimeter, LEDs, resistors, fuses, and different types of batteries. Then they are given a kit from the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center at Monterey Peninsula College. From this bag of parts, they solder all of the pieces and design and build the frames for their robot, then add motors, foam noodles, and pooper scoopers.
The students tested their robots over three days, February 12-14. The last day fell on Grade 5 Shadow Day, giving the younger students the chance to pilot an underwater ROV and to look forward to the moment they get to build their own.To see photos from the ROV test, check out our gallery on SmugMug.