Underwater Robotics

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:


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:



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.



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.


Science Fair K-5 Celebration

The 2016 Newport Schools Science Fair was a huge success!  More than 1,000 people attended the three hour event at Hatfield Marine Science Center on Thursday, January 21st, where 150 student displays representing the work of more than 800 students in grades K-5 filled the Visitor Center and staff lounge. A variety of plants, aquatic habitats, engineering models and other materials accompanied the displays, and the students used writing, math, and art to communicate their discoveries. One class even performed a play to share what they knew about plankton behavior. Students, families, mentors, teachers, school administrators, HMSC staff and others from the community had a chance to view all the displays and talk to young scientists about their discoveries. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm from everyone involved!



This year was the largest Science Fair yet. Every K-5 classroom in Newport participated in Science Fair this year, which adds up to 33 classrooms and 35 amazing teachers. Thanks very much to the 44 people who served as Science Mentors, making regular visits to classrooms at Yaquina View and Sam Case schools to assist students with their investigations. Science Mentors shared their enthusiasm for science, and helped the students see themselves as scientists.


This year, mentors came from:  The Bureau of Land Management – Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Central Lincoln Peoples Utility District, Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women, City of Newport, Lincoln County School District, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Marine Operations Center – Pacific, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and Ship Bell M. Shimada), Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon State University (Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon Sea Grant), OSU Master Gardeners, Pacific West Ambulance, Sea Gypsy Research, United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service, and United States Environmental Protection Agency.


Thank you also to all the science mentors, HMSC Visitor Center Staff and Volunteers who helped set up and run the Science Fair event. We couldn’t have done it without you! Finally, we are grateful for the continued support from Oregon Sea Grant, the Yaquina View and Sam Case Boosters, Lincoln County School District, Oregon Coast STEM Hub, and the HMSC Director’s office, all of which ensure that Science Fair continues to be a valued annual event in our community.

IMG_0661The Newport Schools Science Fair is just one of many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities benefiting students living on the Oregon Coast.  To find out about more STEM events, competitions and opportunities for you to get involved, visit the Oregon Coast STEM Hub website at http://oregoncoaststem.oregonstate.edu/ or email OregonCoastSTEM@oregonstate.edu.  The Oregon Coast STEM Hub office is located in Newport at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Read the News-Times coverage of the event:  Science Fair Draws Crowd