Grant will expand underwater robotics program

Grant will expand underwater robotics program Students direct underwater robots.

The Southwest Indiana STEM Resource Center (SwISTEM) at the University of Southern Indiana is expanding its SeaPerch, underwater robotics, program to more schools in 2013. The expansion is made possible through a $4,500 grant from the Posey County Community Foundation. The grant will provide funds for instructional workshops, robotics kits, and team registration fees for as many as 25 teams in Posey County schools.

SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that trains educators to teach their students in grades 5-12 how to build an underwater vehicle. Students follow a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts using remotely operated vehicles built from kits provided by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division. NSWC-Crane partners with USI on programs to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

Through the grant, up to 25 teachers will attend a one-day workshop introducing them to SeaPerch curriculum and competition rules and guidelines. Additionally, 25 kits will be purchased for teams. 

This grant will open the door for schools that couldnt afford to create a team or hadnt thought about trying to form a team, saidAllison Grabert,interim director of the Southwest Indiana STEM Resource Center in USIs Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education.

USIs SeaPerch program is available to schools across southern Indiana. In 2012, 26 high school and 42 middle school teams participated, including Marrs Elementary School and North Posey High School in Posey County. Were excited about extending the SeaPerch experience to even more Posey County students, said Grabert. This is now possible due to this generous funding.

The next competition is tentatively scheduled for February 2013 at the Mount Vernon Junior/Senior High School natatorium. This will be the third year USI has hosted the regional competitionpart of the larger national SeaPerch competition.

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