A hands-on project-based engineering program allows students to build their own remotely operated underwater vehicle, called Sea Perch. The Sea Perch program is run by the Office of Naval Research through its National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineering (NNRNE) program. Scientists and engineers from NSWC Carderock Division attend Sea Perch construction training sessions with classroom teachers and then they work with the students in the classroom, either during the school day or as part of special after-school engineering clubs.
During the construction of their Sea Perch, students learn to use a variety of tools and equipment, including PVC pipe cutters, wire strippers, soldering irons and multi-meters. The scientists and engineers assist the students through all the stages of construction, helping them wire and waterproof their motors, teaching them how to wire the switches and power cables in their control box and assisting them as they troubleshoot their Sea Perch.
A culminating field trip to NSWC Carderock Division or to a public pool gives the students the opportunity to test their Sea Perches. During a Sea Perch competition, the students maneuver their ROVs through obstacle courses and recover objects from the bottom of the pool.
For more information about getting the Sea Perch program started in your school, contact www.seaperch.org.