Seaperch tournaments put students’ STEM talents and teamwork to the test

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Seaperch’s motto of teach-build-become is an apt collection of words to signify exactly what they want to do. The Seaperch Tournament hosted this weekend at the La Mesa Municipal Pool and next weekend as well is a motto in action.

SeaPerch is the name given to an outbranch competition of the Exploring STEM careers Initiative (ESCI), a National Science Foundation funded grant to SDSU‘s Research Foundation, in collaboration with the San Diego Science Alliance.

Seaperch’s motto of teach-build-become is an apt collection of words to signify exactly what they want to do. The Seaperch Tournament hosted this weekend at the La Mesa Municipal Pool and next weekend as well is a motto in action.

SeaPerch is the name given to an outbranch competition of the Exploring STEM careers Initiative (ESCI), a National Science Foundation funded grant to SDSU‘s Research Foundation, in collaboration with the San Diego Science Alliance.

It is a nationwide program that gives students the opportunity to learn about mathematics, robotics engineering, and science. Building skills like ship and submarine design, it encourages students to explore naval architecture, ocean engineering principles.

Students built mini ROVs they piloted through an underwater maze and competed for points.  The project involves engineering, physics and teamwork. More than 100 students on Seaperch teams from area middle and high schools had a chance to show what they understood about buoyancy and building a model that operates in a maze underwater.

How that played out locally is a 9-week program that had local students like the students of 6th grade teacher, Jeff Lamb, at Santee’s Chet F. Harritt Elementary studying with Lamb after school.

Lamb introduced the Seaperch project at an assembly. After that it was students working with kits to build the underwater diving models. Chet F. Harritt will become a STEAM school in the 2015-16 school year.

The May 9 tournament had teams, advisors, and judges in attendance. The three judges, all Navy men, one of which was E-6 Anthony Escobedo, timed the diving time and speed of the ROVs going back and forth thru underwater hoops. Judges noted that the best teams had video gamers who were able to use the game like controls like a second nature.

Santee’s Pride Academy had students Seth Grosch-7th grade, Dylan Hassin-8th, and Merci Hassin-6th, competing. Hassin said that the ROVs sunk faster in saltwater and came up quicker than in fresh water, a comparison courtesy of an earlier trip to Chula Vista’s Living Coast Discovery Center.

Project manager, retired teacher Dave Massey, was a hands-on man the entire nine weeks for teams from San Ysidro to Escondido. On May 9 he not only waded into the pool to deal with underwater mishaps but answered questions every other minute for parents and students.   According to Masse the winners will be notified by e-mail after the second week of competition is done.

STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. STEAM adds in art to the educational curriculum.

This event is continued on May 16, at the La Mesa Municipal Pool from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Visit: www.sdsa.org/robotics or www.sdsa.org or call 619/400-9777 for further information.

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