By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Brown, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. – Volunteers from Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and commands within Navy Region Northwest helped facilitate a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) competition for Kitsap-area students at Olympic High School Aquatics Facility in Bremerton, Wash., June 1.
The competition provides students with the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) while getting hands on experience by building the underwater ROVs.
“This is a tremendous event,” said Paul Fukuhara, program coordinator. “You have to keep kids interested and that’s exactly what this program does. They have to use their imagination, and they are learning hands on instead of through books.”
More than 60 teams of two used their ROVs to maneuver around and through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe structures set up by Navy divers, collecting and depositing metal washers using magnets attached to their ROVs, retrieving and dropping rings into a bucket.
“It’s great to see the kids out here having fun and learning at the same time,” said Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) (SW/AW/IUSS) Charles Eakley, Transient Personnel Unit Puget Sound command senior chief. “They get to learn about STEM through real world applications, which I think is beneficial to them.”
The ROV challenge starts in the classroom weeks prior to the competition. Students work in teams of two building their ROV, applying advanced physics and engineering skills learned in class.
“It really is an exciting event and really proves how dedicated the Navy is to the community and the STEM program,” said Robert Gelder, Kitsap County commissioner. “I can’t say enough how appreciative I am of the Navy’s time and dedication they put in to the program. It is truly a great partnership with the Navy and the Kitsap community.”
During the competition Navy divers were in the pool available to assist the students in retrieving their ROVs and to give advice when needed.
The challenge enables educators to include discussion of potential careers in technical and engineering fields, as well as related fields of study, and also offers a template for an end-of design challenge.
STEM can be used to inform and educate students through a hands-on activity in the classroom, with the objective of generating interest and enthusiasm for continued science, technology and engineering studies. The long-term goal is to create the next generation of STEM professionals.