Middle and high school students compete at Inaugural Louisiana Regional SeaPerch Challenge

Using STEM curriculum, middle & high school students build underwater robots, then compete in underwater obstacle course and technical challenge course, participate in poster competition, vying for seat at nationals.

04/13/16

Photo

Pictured here is a student from Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy manuerving his SeaPerch ROV through the challenge course.

The inaugural Louisiana Regional SeaPerch Challenge boasted nearly 10 school teams from around the state, including Baton Rouge, Franklinton, Plaquemine, and Slidell. Nearly 60 middle-and-high-school student competitors vied for a chance to advance to the SeaPerch National Challenge at this regional challenge, held Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the C.B. Pennington Jr. YMCA.

Competing were middle and high school teams who have worked with their teachers to hand build remote operated vehicles (ROVs) from kits comprised of low-cost, easily accessible supplies such as PVC pipe. The children hand build their SeaPerches by learning about electric circuit operations, cutting and drilling the PVC pipes, and soldering the electric circuit.

Dr. Neil Mathews, director of LSU’s School of Education (SOE), opened the challenge with an address.

Mathews said, “To the teachers here with us today…thank you. In our rapidly changing world, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Your commitment and tutelage are teaching students how to solve problems, communicate with others, and be leaders. Your work is important, and you are appreciated.”

SeaPerch program director and SOE assistant professor Dr. Bridgette Davis said she is thrilled with the outcome of the first Louisiana Regional SeaPerch Challenge.

The middle and high school students maneuver their SeaPerch ROVs through an underwater obstacle course with remote controls. Controlling the SeaPerch’s movements and speed while keeping in mind factors such as thrust, buoyancy, and ballast are keys to success. During the technical challenge called the Orbs, teams lined the edge of the YMCA’s pool, carefully maneuvering their SeaPerch to release balls from specially made devices and then had to collect the balls with their ROVs. Competing in the Orbs challenge proves the students’ design and ROV operations skills.

seaperch poster presentation

Pictured here is students on the Boyet Jr. High robotics team preparing for their poster presentation. 

The students also had to share their learning, building, and science understanding through poster displays and presentations.

Regional challenges have been held all over the United States, from Virginia to California, coast to coast. Regional challenges have also been held internationally, with one in Australia and also the Cayman Islands. The Louisiana Regional Challenge was the only one in the state, bringing in local and regional teams and even a team from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

“It is unbelievable how much everyone put forth with the amount of dedication, work, determination, resiliency, and tenacity for us all to finally see it materialize into something so magical: seeing the art of students learning, developing, growing, and playing,” Krystie Ngyuen, SOE graduate research assistant, said.

Aspiring science teacher and elementary education senior in the School of Education Autumn Swaney said although she was never previously involved in any robotics curriculums, the evident passion and excitement at the regional competition is a clear indicator that innovative programs like SeaPerch are crucial to developing an early love for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Swaney volunteered at the SeaPerch regional challenge, serving as an interview and poster judge.

“The passion that the students displayed yesterday while explaining their team’s challenges, successes, and planning process was immense,” Swaney said. “It is evident that the involvement with the SeaPerch program has made an impact on these students desire to discover new mathematical and physical science techniques.”

Watching children get excited about SeaPerch is one amazing aspect of the program, but it is also introducing new, unexpected life-changing opportunities.

USA Swimming research data shows that nearly 40% of Caucasian children have little-to-no swimming abilities. 70% of African-American children and 60% of Hispanic children cannot swim.

These middle and high school students learn the SeaPerch curriculum, build their SeaPerches in the classroom, but once they are facing a pool to operate the SeaPerch, can lose their confidence due to fear of water.

Saturday was a day full of smiles and inspiration, especially when Capitol Middle Magnet Academy students showed off their newly learned swimming skills.

As part of a partnership with the YMCA, these students, who have never swam before, are receiving free swimming lessons. In front of an encouraging crowd, they started with toes in the water, until they submerged themselves and showed off their floating skills. Next step: stroking.

The YMCA has also worked with students at Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy on water safety and swimming.

The YMCA National Water Safety Program teaches children the importance of water safety. Swimming itself is a life skill, one that comes hand in hand with lessons SeaPerch teaches – marine engineering, naval architecture, ocean engineering, submarine design.

The afternoon ended with an awards ceremony, dubbing the overall winners: first place, the “OG Warriors” from Oak Grove High School, Hattiesburg, Ms.; second place, the “North Caddo Robotics” from North Caddo Magnet High School, Vivian, La.; and third place, the “Boyet Robotics Team” from Boyet Junior High, Slidell, La.

“SeaPerch is about teamwork, problem-solving, and fun. I am always in awe of the excitement SeaPerch instills in students,” Dr. Davis said. “This year is particularly exciting as LSU is hosting the National SeaPerch Challenge. I’m so excited that our School of Education and the leaders of the Gulf Coast Regional SeaPerch Challenge organization were able to bring a regional challenge to fruition in the state of Louisiana.”

Teams who won this regional challenge advance to the National SeaPerch Challenge, May 20-21 on LSU’s campus. More than 175 teams from across the nation will compete in the LSU Natatorium and LSU Carl Maddox Fieldhouse.

 

The SeaPerch Regional Challenge would not have been possible without the help of our sponsors.

Thank you to:
Office of Naval Research, Department of the Navy
Robo Nation
AUVSI Foundation: Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
Baton Rouge YMCA
Campus Federal
Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System
Exxon Mobil

 

Louisiana Regional SeaPerch Challenge award recipients:

National Entries

High SchoolOG Warriors from Oak Grove High School, Hattiesburg, Ms.

Middle School: Boyet Robotics Team from Boyet Junior High, Slidell, La.

 

Special Awards

Least Adjusted SeaPerch: Sea Cougars Blue from Capitol Middle Magnet Academy, Baton Rouge, La.

Most Creative SeaPerch: Technogeeks ROV, Inc. from Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy, Baton Rouge, La.

Sportsmanship Award: SPEMA Sea Stallions from Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy, Baton Rouge, La.

T-Shirt Award: Sea Cougars Red from Capitol Middle Magnet Academy, Baton Rouge, La.

 

Overall

First Place:  OG Warriors from Oak Grove High School, Hattiesburg, Ms.

Second Place:  North Caddo Robotics from North Caddo Magnet High School, Vivian, La.

Third Place: Boyet Robotics Team from Boyet Junior High, Slidell, La.

Middle School

Poster

First Place: SPEMA Sea Stallions from Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy, Baton Rouge, La.
Second Place: Boyet Robotics Team from Boyet Junior High, Slidell, La.
Third Place: Technogeeks ROV, Inc. from Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy, Baton Rouge, La.

 

Obstacle

First Place:  Boyet Robotics Team from Boyet Junior High, Slidell, La.
Second Place: Kenilworth Dolphins from Kenilworth Science & Technology Charter School, Baton Rouge, La.
Third Place: BRIS Falcons from Baton Rouge International SchoolBaton Rouge, La.

 

ORBS

First Place: Boyet Robotics Team from Boyet Junior High, Slidell, La.
Second Place:  BRIS Falcons from Baton Rouge International School, Baton Rouge, La.
Third Place: Kenilworth Dolphins from Kenilworth Science & Technology Charter School, Baton Rouge, La.

High School

Poster

First Place: North Caddo Robotics from North Caddo Magnet High School, Vivian, La.
Second Place: OG Warriors from Oak Grove High SchoolHattiesburg, Ms.
Third Place: iPine from Pine High School, Franklinton, La.

 

Obstacle

First Place: OG Warriors from Oak Grove High SchoolHattiesburg, Ms.
Second Place: North Caddo Robotics from North Caddo Magnet High School, Vivian, La.
Third Place: iPine from Pine High School, Franklinton, La.

 

ORBS

First Place: OG Warriors from Oak Grove High SchoolHattiesburg, Ms.
Second Place: North Caddo Robotics from North Caddo Magnet High School, Vivian, La.
Third Place:  iPine from Pine High School, Franklinton, La.

Are you interested in experiencing SeaPerch? The National SeaPerch Challenge is coming right here to LSU this May! Don’t miss out on an exciting, innovative volunteer opportunity.

 

Volunteer

 

 

SEAPERCH AT LSU

 

About SOE
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.

Visit the School of Education at lsu.edu/education

About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at chse.lsu.edu.