The Skyline Gila River Robotics club is a program available to students after school for a hands -on opportunity to work in teams and develop their critical thinking and strategy skills. Students work towards the goal of building a Remotely Operate Vehicle (ROV) that will maneuver underwater. The robotics program that we participate in is called Sea Perch.
From the Sea Perch website “Sea Perch equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme. The 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.”
Each year in March the teams take their ROVs to a regional competition at Arizona State University where they will need to navigate their ROVs through a series of underwater challenges. Winners from the regional competition are invited to participate in an international SeaPerch Challenge.
The local and international competitions are based on actual real world events. For example, last year’s competition (2019) was based on the incident that occurred in Thailand with Boy Scouts who were trapped in a cave after a storm. They were rescued by the use of an ROV that was able to locate them and determine they were still alive. Once they were located, it helped guide the rescuers to the boys so they could be saved. This helps the students realize that what they are doing has real world applications and hopefully inspire some of them to pursue engineering and science knowing how amazing these topics can be and how they may be able to solve problems that others may face in the future.