February 19, 2013

Kids test-drive MIT Sea Grant ROV's during Family Science Days event in Boston

Engineering Educator Kathryn Shroyer and Research Engineer Mike Soroka set up "Sea Perch Shop" for the 2-day free Family Science Days organized as part of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held at Hynes Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday (Feb 16-17, 2013).

The Sea Perch booth drew special attention for kids with its larger water tanks and swimming robots. Thousands of children and parents participated in the 2-day event, and youngsters had great fun catching a glimpse of the endless possibilities of ocean exploration by learning how scientists and engineers at MIT Sea Grant design vehicles to investigate the aquatic frontiers. The young visitors got to feel what it's like to pilot their own unmanned underwater vehicle, as they dove into the world of underwater robotics. Shroyer and Sorkoa also provided instruction to kids on how to design and build their own ROV's at home or in their classroom.

The Sea Perch underwater robotics program is just one of MIT Sea Grant's many ways of helping meet the state and national need for quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and increased ocean literacy. MIT Sea Grant offers a suite of innovative, hands-on, educational programs in marine ecology, ocean engineering, and underwater robotics that provide exciting learning experiences for young people in support of STEM principles. MIT Sea Grant’s formal and informal education programs for students, professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers, and published educational materials aim at reaching broad audiences. These programs are often produced and distributed in collaboration with partners. In addition to the Sea Perch, other signature programs include the internationally acclaimed summer Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX); the state-wide high school ocean science quiz bowl known as the Blue Lobster Bowl; and various internship opportunities.

Kids take turns test-driving the Sea Perch at MIT Sea Grant's booth during Family Science Days. (Video by Andrei Ivanov)

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