Piccowaxen Middle School students Travis Earnshaw, second from left, and Austin Boarman, right, competed at the National SeaPerch Challenge on May 23-25. Their team, the Aquanauts, won sixth place overall at the middle school level. Their team also won first place in the obstacle course challenge, and third place in the simulated oil challenge. The team is pictured with their sponsor, Teresa Jones, left, a gifted education teacher at Piccowaxen. (Submitted photo)
LA PLATA, Md. (June 20, 2011)—A team of students from Piccowaxen Middle School seventh graders Matthew Fan and Jeffrey Blake were named the national middle school SeaPerch champions after earning first place among competing middle school teams at the National SeaPerch Challenge on May 23-25.
Their team, the CPUs, also received second place overall in the backboard display category, third place in the obstacle course event and fourth place in the simulated oil spill challenge. As the national middle school overall winners, their names and Piccowaxens name will be engraved on a permanent trophy that is housed at the Philadelphia Office of Naval Research.
Another team from Piccowaxen, the Aquanauts, composed of eighth graders Travis Earnshaw and Austin Boarman, competed at the event and won sixth place overall at the middle school level. Their team also received first place in the obstacle course event and third place in the simulated oil spill challenge. Teresa Jones, a gifted education teacher at Piccowaxen, is the sponsor for the two teams.
SeaPerch is an underwater robotics program that trains teachers to teach their students how to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle. Students build the vehicle from a kit and follow curriculum that focuses on engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme. The national event consisted of three events: a team presentation poster session, a simulated oil spill challenge and an obstacle course challenge.
Piccowaxen Middle School students Matthew fan, second from left, and Jeffrey Blake, right, were named the national middle school SeaPerch champions at the National SeaPerch Challenge on May 23-25. Their team, the CPUs, was named the overall middle school winner, and received second place in the backboard display, third place in the obstacle event and fourth place in the simulated oil spill challenge. The team is pictured with their sponsor, Teresa Jones, left, a gifted education teacher at Piccowaxen. (Submitted photo)
During the presentation session, teams presented their SeaPerch projects to a panel of judges and had to discuss design elements. In the simulated oil spill challenge, teams maneuvered their robots underwater to stop the flow of a simulated spill and collect plastic balls that floated on the surface of the pool. Teams also had to maneuver their robots around a submerged obstacle course.
Drexel University in Philadelphia hosted the National SeaPerch Challenge. The Piccowaxen students advanced to the national competition after qualifying at the state event held last month. Charles County Public Schools partnered with The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers this school year to pilot the SeaPerch program at Piccowaxen and Theodore G. Davis middle schools.
As part of the pilot program, students worked with assigned education partners from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division to learn about naval and marine engineering, robotics and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based concepts. Members of the school communities also volunteered to assist the students with the program.
For more information on the national challenge, visit www.seaperch.org.
Source: Charles County Public Schools