#WeAreNMEA - Underwater Robotics with Lane Rosen
New York State Marine Education Association
Five years ago at a STEM Collaborative meeting at John Dewey High School, the US Navy introduced the SeaPerch Underwater Robotics program to several new participating schools in New York City. The US Navy has an interest in creating more homegrown engineers to help advance US technology and stay ahead of competing countries. The US Navy explained that other countries were producing ten engineers compared to one in the United States and that minorities and females were underrepresented in the engineering field. This conversation sparked several schools at the meeting to start up an underwater robot engineering school program to introduce engineering to NYC students. The NYC schools included I.S. 228 David A. Boody, J.H.S. 278 Marine Park, I.S. 281 Joseph B Cavallaro, John Dewey High School, Edward R. Murrow High School and Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies. These same schools collaborated together during the build process, shared buses to the competition, shared food, and exchanged parts and tools.
The Navy inspired my STEM partner Filippo Dispenza (John Dewey HS Robotics) and myself to bring this innovative program to our very diverse Title 1 school. Over the last five years, students have created an underwater robot to perform several tasks in a pool, accompanied with a poster presentation and an engineering notebook. Student teams around the country design, build and engineer their robots for competition with the same materials and can spend up to twenty dollars to modify their robot. The US Navy holds several regional competitions around the country and the winners compete nationally. Students learn skills like measuring, soldering, designing, testing, three-dimensional drawing and printing, buoyancy, drilling, cutting, waterproofing, small motors and wiring.
The John Dewey High School Underwater Robotics Club is composed of females and males of various cultural backgrounds. The team loves to design, build, test the robot and improve on its design with modifications and more tests. Our team learns many useful skills, such as three-dimensional design and printing. For example, our team created its own arm and motor mounts from a three-dimensional printer. The program brings real-world skills to the classroom and the students love using the technology. This year, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams funded the One Engineering Brooklyn Pipeline founded by Michael Danza. John Dewey High School received four three-dimensional printers, an engineering computer cart, and a Tormach C&C machine, which are resources that students use to explore technology and engineering projects.