By MARITA KLEISSLER, Education Specialist at Prince William Sound Science Center, and
WIL TUSHAUS, AmeriCorps Member at Prince William Sound Science Center.
Since 2012, Prince William Sound Science Center educators have taken remotely operated vehicle, known as “ROV,” kits to the Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl in Seward, where teams from across Alaska participated in the ROV Challenge.
This science bowl is a regional competition for Alaska high school students on topics related to the study of the oceans. Winning teams go on to compete against teams from across the United States. The challenge was one part of the bowl.
Students constructed the ROVs out of PVC piping. Bilge pumps were used as motors. To simulate the navigational precision and maneuverability needed for an oil spill cleanup, students maneuvered the ROVs through hula hoops, picked up a neutrally buoyant ring and placed it on an underwater hook, retrieved a beach ball and brought it poolside, and hovered in front of a target.
Teams were judged on how well they completed each task and how well they worked as a team. Homer, Dillingham, and Petersburg teams placed first, second and third, respectively. Everyone had a great time designing, building, and driving their ROV.
“I came here for this,” one student commented, “Thank you very much.”
The ROV Challenge was made possible by funding from the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council and the Oil Spill Recovery Institute, and with the assistance of Cordova High School student volunteers.
Photos by Ryan Johnson.