Putting the E in STEM: Underwater Robotics

Academic Enrichment Grant

 2022-2023 Project Summary

Daniel Nesbitt

Alexander Fleming Middle School • Lomita, CA

The project gives students the opportunity to learn engineering design principles and ocean conservation awareness through the design and build of an underwater robotic vehicle. The project will give students a real-life engineering experience that mirrors what career researchers currently do around the world. Students will engage in the engineering design process to develop a vehicle design that will complete pre-determined tasks in a swimming pool.

Students will also conduct technical research to learn about ocean exploration and conservation, underwater robotics applications, underwater research laboratories, basic electronics, buoyancy forces in water. Next, students will engage in a peer-reviewed design process to collaborate on the most efficient vehicle design. Together, students will debate the pros and cons of various vehicle designs based off of their classroom learning and use 3D printing technology alongside common hand tools to build their vehicle and the related subsystems of the vehicle.

Throughout the learning process, students will document their learning using an engineering notebook and various digital tools. Students will also present their learning to their peers, parents, faculty members of the school, and the members of the surrounding community via an online platform.

Later, students will have the opportunity to apply their learning to a real-world competition event held by MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education). The competition is highly engaging for learners and gives them a hands-on STEM experience that points them towards a future focused on engineering and technology. Students who participate in the competition portion of the project will meet after school to work as an engineering team to design a vehicle that will be used in competition events.

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