Weekly Wave - Diving into STEM Learning
Weekly Wave, vol. 7, no. 16, Water Resources Research Center, Tucson, AZ, May, 2019
"I learned how to solder!" bragged an elementary school student during the engineering presentation portion of the 2019 MATE Arizona Regional ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) competition organized by Arizona Project WET (APW). This year's challenge, Innovations for Inshore: ROV Operations in Rivers, Lakes, and Dams, was answered by 27 teams of 2nd-12th-grade students on Saturday, April 27 at the UA Campus Rec Center. The competition required students to demonstrate how the underwater robots they designed and built could perform a set of tasks in the pool. Additionally, teams provided engineering presentations discussing their ROV's design features and lessons learned, and a marketing display showcasing their robots. Judges consisted of 30 volunteers including engineering professionals, UA students, teachers, and high school students. One judge remarked, "I was very impressed with the levels of creativity and dedication shown by students of all ages. The competition is a great way to get students involved in STEM."
The journey to this competition begins with teachers and coaches in APW's summer Underwater Robotics and Engineering Design Academy. During this academy, participants develop an understanding of buoyancy, energy, electrical circuitry, soldering, and control systems while engaging in the engineering design and building of ROVs. They leave with tools, an ROV kit, and the skills and confidence to work with student teams. Students learn so much more than just soldering through APW's ROV program; they are becoming the next generation of problem solvers. Learn more about the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) ROV competition on their website.