(February 10, 2020) --
Discovery Hall Programs and UMS-Wright Preparatory School co-hosted the first SeaPerch ROV Competition in Alabama on Saturday, February 8.
UMS-Wright Upper School Science teacher Nancy Hilbun worked with Discovery Hall Programs to organize the competition.
"I really felt this was a great opportunity to introduce more robotics and technology to the students," Hilbun said. "What's happening in the industry and the world, this is going to be a growing field and industry. We can really let them know how this would work and what they can do. I also think it improves their problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills."
Six teams competed in the competition at UMS-Wright. Teams came from UMS-Wright, Baker High School, and Biloxi Upper Elementary.
The teams flew their SeaPerch ROV through two underwater courses. In the obstacle course, teams were timed as they maneuvered the ROV through a series of hoops. The mission course challenged the teams with a series of tasks that included taking sunken trash to an underwater disposal vault, disarming a mine, and collecting floating trash.
Before the water missions began, the teams submitted a technical design report to the judges. The report addressed the engineering design process which discussed how their robot changed during the building and testing phases and described the unique features their robot included to complete the course and missions.
The Braves from Biloxi Upper Elementary School were the overall regional champion in the competition. With this win, they qualify to attend the International SeaPerch Challenge on May 29-31.
"At these competitions, I seem them gain confidence in themselves," Biloxi Upper Elementary mentor John Collins shared. "This is a way they can understand they need to be focused, engaged, and it's okay if they make mistakes."
Every team went home with a unique, 3D printed medallion to remember the first Alabama SeaPerch ROV Competition.
Learn more about Discovery Hall Programs ROV and marine technology classes, camps, and workshops at disl.edu/dhp/rov-programs.