Prince William students learn teamwork at competition

by Neds Job of the Week
Published on: 12/08/2010
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Prince William students learn teamwork at competition

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Credit: Keith Walker/News & Messenger.

Pedro Orozco, 15, right, and Nick Tolomeo, 14, pf Brentsville District High School make adjustments to their robot  Friday at the SeaPerch underwater robotics competition at the Manassas Park Community Center.

Students from area high schools converged on the pool at the Manassas Park Community Center for the SeaPerch Challenge Friday and brought their underwater robots along.

Denyse Carroll, Prince William County regional STEM — or Science Technology Engineering and Math coordinator —  said the SeaPerch program had its origins  as collaboration between the Office of Naval Research, the Society of Naval and Marine Engineers and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The program is designed to teach the students teamwork, as well as engineering and science, and includes  classroom work on research papers, innovative robot design, note taking and logo design.

“We’re hoping that we’re creating the next set of engineers or inspiring kids to think about a career that might be something they weren’t aware of before,” Carroll said.

In the pool students had to prove their robots’ maneuverability, ability to pick up weighted rings and to work together with other teams in a relay, Carroll said.

This was the fourth year Prince William County students participated in the SeaPerch Challenge and the county has been chosen to host the nationals in 2012, Carroll said.

Jake Dement of Hylton High School, said he enjoyed the challenge

“I’ve never been to one of these before. It’s a great learning experience,” the 15-year-old said.

Brandyn Frazier of Stonewall Jackson High School said he appreciated the teachers helping out with the robotics and learned to work with others.

“I’m learning that teamwork is definitely important in SeaPerch,” the 17-year-old Frazier said. “It’s really hard to build one of these robots. It’s not as easy as it looks.”

“The teachers are really great for helping us do this,” Frazier said. “I’m really thankful that there’s teachers that care about us and that want to do stuff like this for us.”

Stonewall Jackson High School students Jasmine Glover and Carmen Quinteros also learned a lot at the challenge.

“I’ve never done this before. It’s fun. I’m learning a bunch about robots,” the 17-year-old Glover said.

Brian Eichas, an engineering teacher at Osbourn Park High School, said he hoped the exercise taught the students to think.

“The biggest thing is problem solving. We hope they get a better understanding of engineering, and math and science skill specifically,” he said.

Roughly 600 students on 150 teams from Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park, along with Seton Senior High School, accepted the challenge, Carroll said.

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