Local students compete in underwater robotics challenge

Local students compete in underwater robotics challenge

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - More than 100 middle and high school students from Charleston County School joined the regional SeaPerch competition Wednesday.

The annual event is part of the national SeaPerch initiative, which helps students build an underwater robot or "Remotely Operated Vehicle" (ROV) with low-cost, easily accessible parts.

After building their ROV, students compete against one another in a series of underwater courses, testing robot design as well as vehicle agility and performance. Both pool events involve maneuvering the tethered ROV to complete various tasks such as capturing balls and swimming through hoops.

 The SeaPerch challenge is also part of Charleston County School District's larger effort to expose kids to STEM learning--science, technology, engineering and math.

Dexter Middleton, 12th grader at North Charleston High School, is returning to the competition for a second year.

"The competitions and stuff are what gets people really motivated," Middleton said. "It opens my eyes to a lot of different things, how different things work. It takes more than you actually think to build one of these things."

Middleton is competing with teammate John Jackson, 11th grader at North Charleston High. "It's kind of new to me but I caught on fast," Jackson said. "My first thought was 'to win.'"

Students also must present the design and construction of their ROV to judges, displaying their communication, problem solving, self-management, and systems thinking.

The winners of Wednesday's regional challenge will head to the national competition in Louisiana in May.

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