Students get lesson in real world through ROV project

Left, two Bremerton High students ready their ROV for trials at the Olympic High pool. - Steven DeDual/staff photos
Left, two Bremerton High students ready their ROV for trials at the Olympic High pool.
— image credit: Steven DeDual/staff photos

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) can be built for many different tasks; but when it is built by high school students for learning, it helps kids understand what they learn in school really does apply to the real world.

Bill Green, a Bremerton High School (BHS) teacher, knows very well the benefits of showing students the application of their book-learning and how projects like these teach kids more than they normally would have learned.

“I’d be willing to bet that this is the first time some of these kids have even seen a soldering iron,” he said.

BHS student Katie Devery said she had some experience, but she definitely learned more doing the ROV project.

“I have soldered before,” she said. “But nothing like this. Now I know how to build a motor.”

The program was developed through the Naval Undersea Museum and brings the Navy and high school students together for a learning experience few kids get the opportunity to have.

Corinne Beach, a nuclear engineer with the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintanance Facility (PSNS & IMF), was the point of contact for Green before and during the challenge.

Beach said this event provides a great opportunity for students and PSNS staff alike.

“The goal of this project is to increase interest in science, math and engineering through a fun, hands-on approach,” she said. “This is also a great outreach program for our employees to give some of their knowledge back to the community in a learning environment.”

Student teams work directly with experts in the field to learn all facets of building and operating their ROVs, according to Beach.

“During the course of the project, students work in teams of two or three to design, build, wire, test and troubleshoot their vehicles,” she said. “Employees help the students in the class with their various expertise (engineering, soldering, testing, etc.) as well as at two pool challenges (on-the-spot troubleshooting and evaluations).”

The pool challenge, Beach said, is a chance for students to show what they have learned by actually putting their vehicles through tests.

“At the pool, students are challenged with maneuvering through “wrecks,” sea floor retrievals and data collection, all of which must be done with their vehicles,” she added.

Being able to provide “real-world” experience that coincides with classroom learning makes the program even better for Beach.

“I especially like this program because it is integrated into the class curriculum,” she said. “The project doesn’t have to compete with all the after-school activities that are available and the students have ample time and support to make their vehicles a success.”

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