Underwater Robotics Program Making Waves

DAYTON, Ohio (04/21/10) – As winter turns to spring and parents and students across the country begin to plan summer activities, a lucky group of middle and high school students in Dayton will be selected to participate in the WaterBotics program, a National Science Foundation-sponsored underwater robotics camp experience happening at Sinclair Community College this summer.

WaterBotics is a one-week program that presents teams with a series of increasingly complex challenges, from designing an underwater robot to speed across a pool to maneuvering underwater to rescue a malfunctioning (toy) submarine. Teams use LEGO and related equipment and the LEGO NXT and Mindstorms programming to create and control their robots.

"The challenges kids will encounter through the WaterBotics camp will create opportunities for them to learn and apply science and engineering to an interesting, real-world problem," said Beth McGrath, Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology and principal investigator of the Build IT Scale Up project, which created the WaterBotics program. "Creativity, problem-solving, innovation, and communication skills are all developed through the course of the challenge-based program," said McGrath. "We never see two identical robot designs; the kids are amazingly creative!"

WaterBotics is based on four years of research and development work conducted with 72 teachers and more than 2,600 middle and high school students. Independent evaluation conducted by Teachers College, Columbia University has shown that the program has increased students’ learning of physical science concepts and programming, and their enjoyment of science and interest in engineering careers.

In addition to summer camps, the program will provide teacher training to groups of middle and high school teachers for implementation in their classes during the 2010-11 school year. Teacher stipends will provide an incentive for teachers to learn the program and infuse it into their classrooms.

Partners in the program include Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio;the Texas Girls Collaborative Project at the University of Texas at Austin; the League for Innovation in the Community College, the National Girls Collaborative Project; the International Technology Education & Engineering Association; and Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ.

Natasha Baker, APR
Director of Communications
P 937/512-2221
M 937/231-4957