On March 7, almost 300 Alvin ISD elementary, junior high, and high school students from 70 different teams came together to the Pearland Natatorium for a full day of learning, sharing, competing and fun at the Regional SeaPerch Competition.
SeaPerch is the innovative K-12 underwater robotics program, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and managed by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation (AUVSIF). The organization trains teachers and group leaders to inspire their students to build their own Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) following an academic curriculum consistent with national learning standards supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects with a marine engineering-based theme.
“Having all these teams from 15 different schools would not have been possible without the dedication of teachers and parents, who teamed up and dedicated their time to coach hundreds of students and give them the opportunity to have this enriching learning experience,” said the SeaPerch coordinator at Mary Marek Elementary, Michelle Pedalino.
For William “Randy” Teal, a teacher from Alvin Junior High, having the opportunity to serve as the SeaPerch District Coordinator has been a fantastic experience.
“I see this responsibility as an extension of the same passion I use with students in the classroom. An aspect of the SeaPerch program I am particularly proud of is the problem solving skills required to be successful. In addition, the program instills a personal determination in students through the engineering design process. I hope to see this program continue to flourish in our district,” commented Teal.
When parents were asked why they decided to volunteer as team coaches, the common answer was that they wanted their own children and other children in the district to have the opportunity to experience programs like SeaPerch, and to provide them with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEM) while building an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle).
“Our kids had an amazing experience. They learned so much. Most of the kids on our team stepped out of their comfort zone and stepped up when their team needed them. A child that was once a shy/timid public speaker is now a confident/proud speaker in front of fully uniformed and intimidating Navy officers. A child who wanted to do things their way or no way before joining SeaPerch, now knows the importance of team work,” said Vivianne Cao, parent and coach of one of the Mary Marek elementary teams.
For students participating in the program, SeaPerch is not only fun but it also teaches them academic, technical, and social skills that they will definitely be able to use in their future careers. During their practice time you often hear students discussing terms such as buoyancy and propulsion or talking about the physics of motion.
For Garret Sassin, a 5th grade student at Savannah Lakes Elementary, the aspect he likes the most about SeaPerch is learning how to problem solve, figuring things out, and being creative to get the right results. Camila Luevano, a 4th grader also at Savannah Lakes said that she really enjoyed building the ROV from scratch and learning how to make it reach “zero buoyancy” so that it could be controlled under the water.
Alvin ISD schools offering SeaPerch: Alvin Junior High, Fairview Junior High, Harby Junior High, Rodeo Palms Junior High, Nolan Ryan Junior High, Manvel High School, Alvin High School, Passmore Elementary, EC Mason Elementary, Glenn York Elementary, Red Duke Elementary, Mary Marek Elementary, Wilder Elementary, Savannah Lakes Elementary, and Mark Twain Elementary.
For additional details about SeaPerch offerings in Alvin ISD contact William Teal at [email protected] or visit http://aisdseaperch.weebly.com/.