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Archive for Robotics

Two Oregon teams will be competing with their student-built underwater robots at the International MATE ROV Competition held in Long Beach, California this weekend, June 23-25, 2017!

  • Lazarus Industries from Clatsop Community College will compete in the EXPLORER class. Read more
  • Finnovators from Newport High School will compete in the RANGER class. Below is information shared by the team:
Finnovators from Newport High School - Photo: A. Brown

Finnovators from Newport High School – Photo: A. Brown

Newport, OR –  The “Finnovators” won the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition held in Lincoln City on April 29th, and this week they will soon be headed to the International Competition in Long Beach, California. The Finnovators is one of the three robotics teams at Newport High School, and is composed of eight seniors. This will be the second consecutive year that the team has advanced to the international event.

At the regional competition, teams across Oregon demonstrated their ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) by completing underwater tasks. This included, among other challenges, retrieving contaminant data from the bottom of a pool, turning a valve, and disconnecting a power cable. Finally, the teams presented marketing and technical reports about their ROVs, and judges correspondingly asked questions. For the tasks and presentation, the teams were awarded points, and the Finnovators ended with the most.

The process culminating in this victory was arduous and required hundreds of hours. However, the result was a complex machine. The ROV features a claw, motors, cameras, and parts that were 3D-printed at Newport High School. The electronics of the ROV require two different coding languages, Python and Arduino, with code written by the team members.

The other two teams from Newport, the Cybernautics and Marine One, were also successful. These students were able to create their own ROVs for the competition, despite their lesser amount of experience. Further, these teams had some of the sophistication of the Finnovators, as they also used software code, 3D-printed components, and soldering. Like the Finnovators, the majority of the components for their ROVs were hand-made.

The Finnovators' student-built ROV. Photo: G. Andrews

The Finnovators’ student-built ROV. Photo: G. Andrews

This demonstrates the benefits of the robotics teams: the robotics teams allows high school students of all ages and backgrounds to explore careers, learn teamwork and technical skills. As robotics is an extracurricular club, the teams do not receive funding from the school district.

Instead, the students fundraise a significant amount of their budget. However, this would not cover all of their expenses, which includes electronics, building materials, and traveling costs. Thus, the team has sponsors from companies and organizations such as Georgia Pacific, AUVSI, Siletz Tribe, Marine Tech Society, Sexton Marine, Oregon STEM hub, Figaro’s and Lincoln County. The team is also accepting donations to fund their trip to the international competition through a GoFundMe page, which can be found under the title “Send NHS ROV team to Internationals.”

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Follow the action this weekend!

For more information about the MATE ROV program, visit the following websites:

under: Robotics, Student Experiences
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I4IGM Technology Club

Posted by: | April 9, 2017 | No Comment |

Text and photos by Kathryn Harmon

i4igm makes balloon cars

balloon cars

Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School is home to the aptly named Institute for Idea Generation & Manufacturing, or I4IGM for short. This crew of 20+ students meets after school one day every week to explore amazing new technologies and make all sorts of things. Our website describes some of the goals for our club:

This club was formed with the goal of creating and building amazing things. We want to code, we want to print cool things on the 3D printer, we are enthusiastic about participating in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge.

This year we joined FIRST LEGO League and sent a team to competition. Now we are putting together teams that will compete next year.

Volunteer Mark Balmer is in his second year of volunteering for the Institute. If you want to know more about electronics, Mark is your man. Photo: K. Harmon

Volunteer Mark Balmer helps us learn about electronics.

We created and printed stickers on our Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter. We learned to model 3D objects on 123D design. Learning to loft, revolve, and extrude our drawings was particularly exciting, and knowing these and other CAD terms will be helpful in high school and college. Our volunteer mentor Mark Balmer taught us to build circuits and program Arduinos, so we created a flashy poster for one of our school board members. The printed vinyl from our Silhouette Cameo also creates wonderful stencils for screen printing, and this Spring we will be printing our very own I4IGM t-shirts for every member.

3D printed guitar picks

Our 3D printer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our STREAMlab is in a room adjacent to our library which is wonderful as it makes this space very much the heart of our school, and students can spread out and work in small groups to solve problems and build their ideas.

If you would like to keep up with us, visit us at our website: i4igm.wordpress.com.

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Kathryn Harmon is the Library Media Specialist for Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School, and coordinates the I4IGM Afterschool Technology Club. She also serves as her district’s liaison to the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. 

 

under: Robotics, Student Experiences
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West Coast Robotics team from Bandon High School

West Coast Robotics team from Bandon High School

Guest Contributor: Martha Kemple

Congratulations to the Bandon High School Robotics Team, otherwise known in competition as West Coast Robotics 3.0.  Team members Kyle Brown (Gr. 11) Austin Panter (Gr. 11), and Nick Turner (Gr.10) competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifying Tournament on Saturday, January 28, at Oregon State University and came in 7th out of 25 in the qualifying matches, made it to the semifinals, and qualified for the next round of competition in two weeks! The team also earned the Judges Award which is one that is not given very often, and is for a team who really impressed the judges outside of the usual award categories. The tournament director said she could only remember this award being given 5 or 6 times over the many years she has been involved in the program. A trophy will be forthcoming–this will be the 8th one for the team in 3.5 years!

West Coast Robotics readies their robot for competition

West Coast Robotics readies their robot for competition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Martha Kemple teaches Robotics, Computer Applications, and Digital Photography at Bandon High School, and is Advisor for the Yearbook and the Robotics teams participating in FIRST Tech Challenge and the MATE ROV Competition.  She also teaches Technology classes to 7th and 8th graders at Harbor Lights Middle School. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Portland State University and worked for the Bonneville Power Administration in various computer-related positions before earning a Master of Arts in Teaching from George Fox University. She has taught everything from second grade through college students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

under: Robotics, Student Experiences
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Students Dive into STEM in Statewide Underwater Robotics Competition

May 3, 2016 – North Bend High School and the North Bend Municipal Pool were overflowing with SCUBA divers and underwater robots last Saturday for the 5th Annual Oregon Regional Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Competition. Over 200 elementary, middle school, high school, and college students from across Oregon took part in the event, as teams launched their underwater robots in an effort to take top honors in the region and advance to the 15th Annual International MATE ROV Competition, which will be held at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas at the end of June.

Sponsored by the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, a collaborative effort of over 60 coastal partners, this competition is an annual event that encourages students to learn and apply Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills as they develop underwater robots – also known as ROVs – to complete missions that simulate real-world problems from the ocean workplace.

Forty-one student teams from Warrenton, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport, Toledo, Waldport, Florence, Bandon, North Bend, Corvallis, Albany, Aloha and The Dalles participated in the day-long event.

Saturday’s competition was one of 26 regional MATE ROV competitions that are held annually around the world that feed into the International MATE ROV Competition. The competition theme changes every year, and this year’s theme highlights technologies that are developed for exploration and scientific use in both ocean and space environments. For example, in the ocean-themed missions, students used their ROVs to collect oil samples and coral specimens. The space-based missions challenged students to pilot their ROVs under the ice sheet of Jupiter’s moon Europa to collect data and deploy instrumentation. The student teams were also required to present posters detailing their ROV design and construction, and provide an engineering presentation for judges.

This year, the Oregon Regional Competition was supported by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society (MTS), the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), The Sexton Corporation, Georgia Pacific Foundation, and Oregon State University. Over 40 volunteers from these and other organizations helped run the competition, served as mission and engineering judges, and provided dive support.

The two advanced-level college teams participating in the Explorer Class division demonstrated their ROVs to the younger students, and some of the team members served as volunteers helping to run the day’s events. Explorer teams are not required to compete at the Regional level for entry into the International competition, but they do have to submit video evidence of their ROV’s capabilities to qualify. The list of qualifying Explorer teams will be released by the MATE Center on May 15th.

Of the thirty-nine remaining teams that competed in Saturday’s event, 15 competed in the beginner-level Scout Class, 15 competed in the intermediate-level Navigator Class, and nine competed in the upper-level Ranger Class. The top team in the Ranger Class, “Finnovators” from Newport High School, will advance to the MATE International Competition to represent Oregon. The International Competition will involve top Ranger and Explorer teams from around the world and will be held at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas June 23-25, 2016.

Winners of the 2016 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition are:

RANGER CLASS

  • 1st Place – Finnovators, from Newport High School – Newport, OR
  • 2nd Place – Zalophus Systems from Life Christian School – Aloha, OR
  • 3rd Place – Taft Tech from Taft 7-12 High School – Lincoln City, OR

NAVIGATOR CLASS

  • 1st Place – West Coast Robotics from Bandon High School – Bandon, OR
  • 2nd Place – Zalotech from Life Christian School – Aloha, OR
  • 3rd Place – Neptune’s Nightmare from Taft 7-12 High School – Lincoln City, OR

SCOUT CLASS

  • 1st Place – Zalora Industries from Life Christian School – Aloha, OR
  • 2nd Place – Coherence Robotics from Bandon High School – Bandon, OR
  • 3rd Place – Irish ROVs from Crestview Heights School – Waldport, OR

JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARDS

  • Team Spirit Award – R.U.W.E. from Taft 7-12 High School – Lincoln City, OR
  • Best Poster Award – Zalophus Systems from Life Christian School – Aloha, OR
Finnovators from Newport High School 2016 1st place Ranger Class

The Finnovators from Newport High School placed 1st in the Ranger Class and received seed money from local industry to help defray costs of their travel to the International Competition in Houston

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under: Robotics, Student Experiences

Underwater Robotics

Posted by: | February 23, 2016 | 1 Comment |

How are gliders and remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) used to explore the ocean? What skills are needed to build and operate an underwater robot? Over the next several weeks, students, educators and community members will have the opportunity to find out the answers to these questions by engaging in one or more of the following STEM learning experiences on the Oregon coast:

LECTURES

Hear Dr. Stahr on March 4th at SWOCC in Coos Bay

Hear Dr. Stahr on March 4th at SWOCC in Coos Bay

Coming up on March 4th, Dr. Fritz Stahr will be giving two presentations at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay. The first presentation, “My Other Vehicle is Unmanned”, will be held at 1:00pm and is geared toward students who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. This is a great field trip opportunity for STEM classes and robotics teams! Dr. Stahr will talk about real ocean gliders, SeaGlide vehicles, and ROVs. The talk is FREE and will last about one hour. Later in the evening, Dr. Stahr will give a second presentation geared toward the general public that covers similar themes. His talk, “Where the Wild and Robotic Things Are”, is part of the SWOCC Geology Lecture Series, and is also the keynote address for the Sharing the Coast Conference taking place March 4-6. Dr. Stahr’s lecture is FREE to all, and you do not need to be registered for the conference to attend. For more information about these lectures, contact Ron Metzger at 541-888-7216.

SeaGlide vehicle

SeaGlide vehicle

Make your plans today:

 

WORKSHOP

Learning how to build an underwater glider

Learning how to build an underwater glider

Hearing from Dr. Stahr will surely be of interest to the 28 educators who have registered to take part in the SeaGlide Educator Workshop on February 27th at Hatfield Marine Science Center. In this hands-on training, middle and high school teachers will find out how underwater gliders are being used in ocean research, and then they will learn how to build model gliders with their students. The workshop is made possible by LADC-GEMM (LIttoral Acoustic Demonstration Center – Gulf Ecological Monitoring and Modeling), NOAA PMEL (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration – Pacific Marine Environmental Lab) Acoustics program, and Oregon Sea Grant. Although the February workshop is full, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub hopes to be able to arrange a similar workshop in the future.

 

COMPETITION

Students throughout the state are currently gearing up for the annual Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition which will be held on April 30, 2016 in North Bend. Students ranging from middle school to college age are learning and applying STEM skills as they build ROVs to complete missions that simulate real challenges in ocean and space environments. The theme for this year’s competition is “From the Gulf of Mexico to Jupiter’s Moon Europa: ROVs Exploring Inner and Outer Spaceand the full competition manuals for each of the four classes can be accessed through regional website. Registration is now open, and lead Instructors are encouraged to register their teams as soon as possible at http://oregon.marinetech2.org/registration. Qualifying teams from the Ranger and Explorer classes will advance to the International Competition held June 23-25, 2016 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center – Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas. The growing Oregon Regional event reaches hundreds of students, and there are many opportunities for STEM partners to volunteer as judges, divers, or scorekeepers on April 30th. For more information, contact Tracy Crews at OregonCoastSTEM@oregonstate.edu.

Check out these blog posts from last year’s competition:

Students compete with their ROVs at the Regional Competition

Students compete with their ROVs at the Regional Competition

The lectures, workshops and competitions described above are all listed on the Oregon Coast STEM Hub website, along a plethora of other STEM-related resources and opportunities. Find out what is going on in your area, and how you and your family, students and coworkers can get involved in STEM learning on the Oregon coast.

http://oregoncoaststem.oregonstate.edu/

under: Robotics

Robotics Team Competes

Posted by: | December 22, 2015 | 2 Comments |

By Cari Jenkins

On December 6, 2015, First Lego League (FLL) teams gathered at the Evergreen Space Museum in McMinnville for a Regional FLL Qualifying Tournament.  Newport’s Electrified LEGOS team was in attendance, ready to compete with their robot. This year, the team was made up of eight team members ranging from 4th to 7th grade. Four were returning members from last year’s SNL-Super Ninja Legends team, and four were new members to FLL.

By the end of the day, the Electrified LEGOS team learned that they were one of the lucky teams chosen to compete in the FLL State Championships to be held on January in Hillsboro.

Electrified LEGOS

Electrified LEGOS

The team has been meeting at least weekly since late August to complete this year’s FLL Challenge – “Trash Trek”. Team members partnered with Thompson Sanitary, County Waste, Master Composter SeaHart Elan and Sam Case Elementary School to figure out a way to reduce the amount of food waste being thrown into the landfill from the school. The team did a waste audit at Sam Case for two days to know how much was being thrown away and then presented their findings to the Lincoln County School Board and Sam Case administration and staff. On top of the challenge research, the team also used a LEGO EV3 robotics kit to design, build and program a robot, which completes as many missions as possible on a 4-foot by 8-foot playing field.

As part of the tournaments the team must present their robot and programs for judging, present their food waste findings to another team of judges explaining why they chose to help solve this issue, show their teamwork skills to yet another team of judges using the FLL Core Values, and then compete with their robot in three different competition rounds.

Electrified LEGOS is sponsored by Lincoln County 4-H and HC Networks. Team members include Reegan Jenkins, Katie Hartsell, Marcus Lehrer, Kaden Raever, Ella Jenkins, Charlotte Gardner, Gracie Ison, and Merak Krutzikowsky.  They will be competing at the State Competition during the weekend of January 9th and 10th.


A list of coastal teams competing in December’s FLL Qualifying Tournaments:

Warrenton
F1shSt1ckz from Warrenton Grade School
V.I.G. 2 from Wood Middle School
What? from Wood Middle School
Fire Breathing Toasters from Wood Middle School
Error Code 404 from Wood Middle School

Seaside
Broadway Sharks from Broadway Middle School
BMS Plankton from Broadway Middle School

Jewell
Bluejay Bricks from Jewell School District

Newport
Electrified LEGOS from Lincoln County 4-H and HC
RoboDragons from Newport Recreation Center

Florence
Paper-cut Recycling from Siuslaw Middle School
Team K.L.A.P. from Siuslaw Middle School
Team Paper Shredders
Team Smarter Beaches!
Siuslaw Geek Squad

Coos Bay
Nightmare Kitty from Millicoma Intermediate School
OMG Ort Minimizing Gypsies from Sunset Middle School – read more
Recycling Electronics from Sunset Middle School

Full list of all FLL teams

 

 
under: Robotics, Student Experiences

ROV Displayed at Aquarium

Posted by: | November 19, 2015 | No Comment |

Students’ Underwater Robot Returns to Aquarium after Trip Abroad
Oregon Coast Aquarium

Newport, Oregon—At first glance, a cube of PVC pipe trailed by a string of wires and cables is a puzzling presence for some Oregon Coast Aquarium visitors in the new exhibit, Secrets of Shipwrecks: Part History. Part Mystery.

In the exhibit, it represents one of the tools researchers use for underwater exploration and archaeology, and pays homage to the fact that people from all walks of life can wield this technology.

The contraption sports scratches and wear, and zip-ties hold repurposed plastic water bottles to its control tether. The underwater remotely operated vehicle, or ROV for short, is the creation of three Taft High School students under guidance of Science Department Chair Noah Lambie.

Team RUWE (Robotic Underwater Exploration) created the ROV for the Oregon Regional MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) Competition. Each student assumed a role, with Kyle Macrae as CFO, Hunter Bishop as CEO and Eneki Trujillo as Head Engineer. RUWE took the title in the Ranger Class, qualifying them for the international competition at Newfoundland, Canada.

RUWE-poolsideThe opportunity to compete against 60 other teams from universities and prestigious prep schools across the globe presented a tremendous opportunity and set of challenges. Their winnings only covered a portion of the trip, Lambie and the students started a crowdfunding campaign, and sold totes and shirts to make up the difference.

The trio’s previous triumph was in a fresh water pool – not deeper than 12 feet, but the international competition would plunge the students’ robot in Arctic Ocean conditions.

RUWE-inwaterRUWE knew they needed to adjust the robot’s buoyancy control for deep, saline water, and were unsure how their ROV would react to the cold. Lambie reached out to the Aquarium for help. Their first test drive in the Passages of the Deep exhibit deflated the bicycle tube, sending their buoyancy control plans back to the drawing board. Round two proved more successful, and as June drew to a close they headed to Canada.

They found fierce competition; many of the rival ROVs cost more than ten times Taft High’s students’ budget, and were handled by college students. Their innovation and dedication earned them 20th place out of 63 competitors, and the “Bang for the Buck” award.

“This was a huge opportunity for my students,” said Lambie. “They are very capable, natural and intuitive with robotics. Just give them a few projects, a little bit of guidance and let them go.”

RUWE-underwaterThe Aquarium offered to exhibit the ROV to honor Team RUWE, and in hopes of inspiring more applied-STEM projects in classrooms and beyond.  The ROV will be on display through December of 2016.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so that the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium, or Twitter.com/OrCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

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The Oregon Coast Aquarium and Taft High School (Lincoln County School District) are partners in the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.  In addition, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub and Oregon Sea Grant coordinate the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition with support from MATE, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Marine Technology Society, AUVSI, The Sexton Corporation, and Oregon State University.  The next Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition will be held April 30, 2016 in North Bend, Oregon.

under: Robotics

Be sure to tune in and cheer on the two teams from Oregon that are participating in the International MATE ROV competition next week!  Look for the Ranger Class team R.U.W.E. from Taft 7-12 High School in Lincoln City, and Linn-Benton Community College’s Explorer Class team.  Below is a message from the competition organizer Jill Zande:

MATE-invitation


 

Watch it LIVE June 25-27 at www.marinetech.org

The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center, the National Science Foundation (NSF), NSF’s Office of Polar Programs, and the Marine Technology Society ROV Committee invite you to our 14th Annual MATE International Student ROV Competition.

Sixty-three teams representing middle schools, high schools, home schools, after-school groups, community colleges, and universities from 16 different countries are scheduled to compete in this year’s event, which is being held June 25-27, 2015 at the Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University and the National Research Council’s Ocean, Coastal, and River Engineering (OCRE) facility in St. John’s, NL, Canada.

This year’s competition focuses on the role that ROVs play in scientific research and the offshore oil industry in the extreme environment of the Arctic. The underwater mission tasks include piloting under an ice sheet to sample organisms and deploy instrumentation and battling current, waves, and wind to inspect pipelines and test oilfield equipment. This year’s complex missions are made possible by the unique features of MI’s flume tank and the OCRE’s ice tank and offshore engineering basin.

Each year the competition challenges students to think of themselves as “entrepreneurs.” Students are asked to transform their teams into companies that design, build, and market their “product” as a way to gain a better understanding the breadth of real-world business operations. Along the way, they learn how to manage a project, work as a team, think creatively, and problem-solve, which are all important 21st century workplace skills.

During the event, a panel of judges – professionals representing industry, science, government, education, and exploration – will evaluate the student-run companies on their ability to effectively communicate their vehicles’ design and construction via technical documentation, marketing displays, and sales presentations.

The competition will also feature the Ocean Career Expo, organized by the MATE Center and its partners in the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE).

We encourage you to join us! You can also visit the MATE competition web site at www.marinetech.org where a LIVE videostream (including scores, photos, and video clips) will be hosted during the event.

Jill Zande

MATE Center Associate Director & ROV Competition Coordinator
(831) 646-3082 (work)
jzande@marinetech.org

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Linn-Benton Community College ROV team, Explorer Class

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Taft 7-12 High School team R.U.W.E., Ranger Class

under: Robotics, Student Experiences

Guest Contributor: Kama Almasi

IMG_6778Saturday, April 25th marked the culmination of the largest-scale project I’ve done with a group of students. It was an utterly exhausting, exhilarating, and rewarding experience both for me and for the vast majority of my kids. I endured:

  • sleepless nights
  • frantic phone calls for help (by me to other people, not the reverse!)
  • frantic runs, mostly by my husband, to hardware and electronic stores to get materials and supplies I didn’t know I needed until I couldn’t find them
  • and even some tears, though thankfully not in front of the kids.

Despite all of this, I am already planning next year’s repeat performance!

What am I talking about? Why, the 2015 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition in North Bend, of course. For those unfamiliar with this competition, MATE stands for Marine Advanced Technology Education, and ROV stands for Remotely Operated Vehicle (here is the URL for our Regional Center: http://oregon.marinetech2.org/ ). The annual competition poses scientific and engineering challenges for students, and this year the theme was ROVs in Extreme Environments: Science and Industry in the Arctic.

This project is not for the fainthearted, of which I was definitely one. When the Oregon Coast STEM Hub’s Ruth McDonald first suggested the project to me, my immediate internal reaction was “HAH! No way!” and my external reaction was “No, the middle schoolers studied the Physics standards last year, this year we need to cover other standards”. But a few months into the year, while still struggling with major behavior issues in my oversized classes, I finally relented. I was desperate for some way to improve the situation in my classroom, so I decided to dive in with all 90+ middle school science students, despite my extreme lack of knowledge of wiring and electronics. It still took me another few months before I actually started the project, but at least I knew it was on the horizon.

To be perfectly honest, the first two weeks of the project were torture. The classroom was utter chaos, I was grossly unprepared, KODAK Digital Still Cameraand I felt like a naïve, first-year teacher. But suddenly I realized during the third week that student engagement was far, far higher than it had been all year. Students walked into my room and immediately started working, even before the bell had rung! This was a miracle for my room. Students consulted with each other about how to wire, which wires were positive vs. negative, what a double-pull double-throw switch is, and what kinds of extensions to build onto their ROVs. They argued and argued, but it was all about design, engineering, and science! They also fell in love with my husband, whom they did not realize was my husband, as he was volunteering in the classroom nearly every day of the project. When he was absent they always noticed immediately: “Where’s my man, Rex?” I would hear, and “I NEED him!”

The run-off competition week finally arrived in Waldport. I had 16 teams; how on earth would I make sure they were all ready for competition and what would I do with them to whittle them down to the final two teams? Turns out I couldn’t make sure they were all ready — it was up to them. And in fact, many were not ready; that turned out to be part of the learning experience for them. It was a stressful but rewarding time; at the pool, students who were normally disengaged in academics were constantly troubleshooting problems and challenges. What a treat to witness this growth! And what a joy to call home and tell the winning teams that they were headed to Regionals.

KODAK Digital Still CameraLast Saturday’s Regional Competition was quite possibly the most challenging, yet rewarding day. My colleagues, Melissa Steinman, Holly Schell, and Daniel Wirick, and I took two middle school and two high school teams from Waldport to the competition in North Bend. We saw pride, disappointment, and learning experienced by our kids, while we all experienced the excitement of seeing the great talent and variety of the other teams. Reading the posters and seeing the ROVs was great fun, but the Place to Be was poolside. How to describe the satisfaction in watching small groups of teens so purely focused on their mission, eyes on the water, the only spoken words about the task at hand. Propeller falls off? All hands work together to fix it. Mission nearly accomplished? The entire team and the spectators wait in silence, with baited breath.

IMG_3310During the Awards Ceremony, although our four teams did not place, I found myself getting choked up with joy and excitement as one of the Toledo teams won the Navigator category, ensuring their ROV would be on display at the Oregon Coast Aquarium for the next 1 ½ years, and as one of the Taft 7-12 teams (freshmen!) won the Ranger category, earning a trip to the International MATE Competition in Newfoundland, Canada. The Waldport adults were all so exhausted that we thought the kids would fall asleep immediately on the bus trip home last night, but it was not to be. The entire trip was filled with excited kids talking about what happened that day, and what they want to do next year. We all cracked up as, near the end of the trip we heard one student say, “Is anyone besides me tired?”

I could never have pulled off this profound, rewarding experience without the help of many dedicated colleagues and friends, especially at the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. I was going to list them all here, but I think instead I’ll thank them personally and tell you this: Please, if you are hesitant to try something like this, if you feel inadequate or inexperienced, or faint of heart, just dive right in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because you’ll need it, but do it. For your sake and your kids’ sake. I will just end by saying how grateful I am to my 90+ students who made me so happy to be their teacher. I needed that.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Kama Almasi teaches Science at Crestview Heights and Waldport High School. She has a PhD in Ecology and has lived across the street from the Pacific Ocean off and on for 20 years. Kama is also a member of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub Steering Committee. She and her teaching partner brought two SCOUT class teams from Crestview Heights to the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition: Poseidon’s Pirates and Nerdz 4 Life.

under: Robotics

April 25th ROV Competition

Posted by: | April 24, 2015 | No Comment |

Oregon Competition Helps Students Learn about Polar Science and Technology with Underwater Robots
Winners head to Canada in June for international contest

April 23, 2015— The Oregon Coast Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Hub, in conjunction with the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center, has issued an icy challenge to Oregon students. On Saturday, April 25th, 38 teams of elementary, middle school, high school, and college students from across Oregon will compete in an underwater robotics competition in North Bend, Oregon that focuses on the use of these vehicles in scientific research and the offshore oil industry in the Arctic Ocean.

ROV2014-1An annual event, the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition encourages students to learn and apply science, technology, engineering, and math skills as they develop underwater robots – also known as remotely operated vehicles or ROVs – to complete missions that simulate real-world problems from the ocean workplace.

Established 4 years ago, the Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition continues to expand in both team numbers and geographic area from which teams hail, with teams traveling from as far as Klamath Falls and Astoria to attend.

ROV2014-2The competition theme changes every year. This year’s contest highlights the role of ROVs in scientific research and the offshore oil industry in the extreme environment of the Arctic. Like scientists who work in polar conditions, students will pilot their ROVs under a simulated ice sheet where they will count and sample organisms, deploy scientific instruments, and collect iceberg data. They will also pilot their ROVs to complete tasks from the offshore oil industry, including inspecting pipelines and testing deep-sea oilfield equipment. In addition to their ROV missions, student teams must also create a poster and be interviewed by engineering judges.

The competition promotes the development of entrepreneurship and leadership skills by requiring students to organize themselves into a company structure with each student taking on a specific role. It transports students from the classroom into the business world, where the student-run, simulated companies design, manufacture, and market their student-built underwater robots. The process requires students to manage a project and budget, brainstorm innovative solutions, and work as a team – all important 21st century workforce skills.

ROV2014-4The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition is supported by numerous partners and over 50 volunteers, who serve as divers, judges and support staff. This year’s competition is sponsored by the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, which is a collaboration of over 50 coastal partners focused on providing world-class STEM opportunities for coastal teachers and their students. Additional support comes from the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Oregon Sea Grant, the Sexton Corporation, Oregon State University, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The Oregon Regional Competition is one of 24 regional contests held around the world whose efforts are coordinated by the MATE Center. Top teams from the upper level divisions will earn the opportunity to compete in MATE’s 14th annual international ROV competition, which will be held June 25-27, 2015 at the Marine Institute of Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

The public is invited to attend the competition and cheer for their local teams. The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition will be held from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday, April 25th at the North Bend Community Pool and North Bend High School. For more information, please contact the Oregon Coast STEM Hub at OregonCoastSTEM@oregonstate.edu.

 

under: Robotics

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