Gifted SeaPerch program a hit

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Saturday, students from the West Side Elementary and Roseland Park Elementary gifted programs participated in the Regional SeaPerch Challenge.
The Aquaholics, the team from Roseland Park, won first place in the SeaPerch Regional video presentation. Students from both teams, the Aquaholics and West Side Elementary’s ROBO-Gators received medals and certificates in the categories of design, successful construction and obstacle course completion.
Construction of the teams’ underwater remote operating vehicles began in December of 2015, West Side Elementary gifted teacher Sheryl Hughes said.
Dave Young, an engineer with the Naval Research Laboratory, hosted an engineering design workshop. Each team was provided building materials with which to design and construct their ROV, or unmanned vehicle, she said.
According to SeaPerch challenge guidelines, the ROV must be able to complete an obstacle course and perform a series of tasks while underwater.
Students also devised team names, logos, a T-shirt, presentation boards, biographical information and team videos, Hughes said.
During the construction phase, students had time to analyze gravity, buoyancy, density of objects, build an electrical circuit and measure water pressure and currents, she added. They also learn safety techniques in regards to soldering.
Students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade participated in the program, she said. The SeaPerch curriculum was designed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, funded by the Office of Naval Research and managed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Hughes said. It incorporates science, technology, engineering and math education for middle and high school students, she added.
“Students as young as 10 participate in this program,” Hughes said. “It’s information they will retain later on for school or their career. This challenge is promoting STEM for Picayune students through a fun and exciting curriculum.”
The coach for the Aquaholics team is Alicia Verweij and members include Carter Edwards, Ty Elam, Brooke Larsen, Peyton O’Neal, Cheyenne Smith, Isaac Brice, Austin Peddy and Alex Velasquez.
Hughes coaches the ROBO-Gators team, which includes members Adaline Albritton, Triston Bordelon, Maddison Burge, Dasia Collier, Brady Robertson, Lillian Denney, Asha Liban, Ryan Sorrells and Jacob Stockstill.

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