By Land, By Sea, and By Air - A STEM Expedition to the "Big Island" of HawaiiAugust 12 2014
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Name: Claire Monk
Account ID: 1392474516
This winter, twenty students from New Albany - Plain Local Schools participated in the SeaPerch program, sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research (seaperch.org). In teams of two, they built these remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) from low-cost materials with basic tools, learned a bit about undersea robotics and completed coursework related to Archimede's Principle, buoyancy and density, and force and motion (i.e. velocity and acceleration).
Upon completion of this curriculum, the same students participated in a two-day weekend OpenROV submersible build, partnering with an oceanographer from the University of Connecticut's Northeast Underwater Research, Technology and Education Center (NURTEC). Capable of diving deeper, providing a live HD video stream, better maneuverability with higher-powered thrusters, lasers, integrated LED lights, and an intuitive software control interface, the OpenROV was an ideal, cost effective solution for this STEM expedition to Hawaii. Students will be building a second OpenROV in the coming weeks, and we will take both robots to Hawaii to deploy from a charter boat to explore submarine geology near coastal areas of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
In June 2015, New Albany Plain Local Schools (New Albany, OH) will be embarking on a high school STEM expedition to the "Big Island" of Hawaii to conduct geologic (and habitat) surveys in and around the coastal boundaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This project will involve a two-step approach to geographic mapping of volcanic regions using remotely operated vehicles and quadcopters drones Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes sit atop an active hotspot here, and are known as the most active volcanoes in the world. This geologic setting provides an excellent opportunity for approximately 20 students to study island formation that has been occurring within the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain for over 70 million years.
Leading up to this adventure, students will take part in a semester long course in robotics including physics lessons covering buoyancy and hydrodynamics, construction of SeaPerch ROVs, "hacking" their designs to include cameras and lighting, improved thrust, and better frame design, and working with researchers at the University of Connecticut's Northeast Underwater Research, Technology & Education Center (NURTEC) to build an OpenROV kit. The end goal is to employ this more capable (and community supported) OpenROV submersible to conduct habitat surveys and collect video/still images of the coastal waters surrounding Kilauea. In conjunction with geo-referenced aerial photography using AR.drone quadcopters , will provide a better understand of land formation over land, from the air, and under the sea.
As with previous NAPL STEM expeditions to Oregon, South Africa, etc., students and teacher participants will be sharing multimedia and maintaining a blog during their time in Hawaii. This project seems like a perfect fit for the OpenExplorer website and we hope you will consider New Albany Plain Local Schools for a free OpenROV kit!