by Jennifer DeBenedetti, fifth grade teacher, and Cheryl Terpning, science teacher
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) have a wide variety of forms and applications. Underwater ROVs are often used in difficult or dangerous situations, such as deep sea diving, oil rig repair, or work conducted in swift water conditions like those in the canals of Central Arizona Project. Creators of the University of Arizona Project WET Curriculum, in collaboration with Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE, Monterey, CA), have also discovered ROVs as a fun and engaging way for students to practice an engineering design process that helps to foster an understanding of buoyancy, hydrodynamics, forces, energy, electrical circuitry, wiring, soldering, and control systems!
Eighth grade student Carson Lo said, "We learned about basic parts of ROVs and their applications in real-world life. For example, we learned to program the ROV to retrieve a plastic ring from the water."
The “ROV in a Bag” Exploration is an introduction to ROVs that follows a two part format, requiring student participation for both parts on the same day. During Exploration 3, students are introduced to modern ROV systems and applications, as well as the engineering design process. Teams of two or three students work together to define the problem, identify limitations and constraints, and begin planning their ROV design. During Exploration 4, students prototype their design and make changes based on their observations and experiences driving in the pool. And, not only do the students learn about ROVs, their uses, and the engineering design process, they get to have fun while developing the skills of persistence, problem solving, and team work!