Sea Perch

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Put a pool, some middle school students and a warm afternoon together and you have the recipe for a good time of relaxing and enjoying a beautiful spring day.  But for students at Greenbrier Middle School, the warm afternoon meant a lot more than shedding a coat. For the 16 students who participate in the Sea Perch Program, it meant the pool would not be so cold as they test their engineering skills!

These students have spent the last 3 months building and testing an underwater remotely controlled vehicle called Sea Perch.  Developed by two engineers at MIT, The Office of Naval Research provided funding for a teacher training program. Assisted by engineers Mike Lowdermilk and John Phillips from NAVSEA Combatant Craft Division, science teacher Ann McGee and math teacher Betsey Batten teach students the engineering, math, science, and teamwork skills needed to build, test and operate the underwater robot. “We love that the students get to see how math and science are connected,” says Ms. Batten. “John and Mike do a great job of teaching the kids new skills as well as showing the students what types of careers are available. The time to hook students is when they are in middle school so they take the right classes in high school.”  Greenbrier has had this program for 3 years and makes a special attempt to attract female students. According to student Abby Young, “I love Sea Perch so much I have participated for three years. I want to be a Biomedical Engineer so it is important to learn these skills. I like meeting other students from different grade levels and helping the younger students.”

David Ralston and Ethan Nelson operate a robotic “sea perch.”

David Ralston and Ethan Nelson operate a robotic “sea perch.”

Kalysta Johnson   Abby Young   Jordan Smith

Kalysta Johnson, Abby Young, Jordan Smith

 

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