WASHINGTON -- Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD) scientists and engineers participated in the District of Columbia Public School’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Fair on Saturday, March 24.
“NSWC Carderock Division’s participation in the DC STEM Fair gives us the chance to foster STEM partnerships with DC public schools and to work with our outreach partners at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Headquarters and other commands such as the Naval History and Heritage Command at the Washington Navy Yard,” said NSWCCD Ocean Engineer Toby Ratcliffe, an integral K-12 STEM Outreach coordinator.
The DC STEM Fair provided an opportunity for 244 students from 37 K-12 public, public charter, parochial, private and home schools to showcase their research skills in math and science. Twenty six different organizations participated in the DC STEM Fair including NSWCCD, National Geographic, and the National Museum of the United States Navy’s (USN) Education and Public Programs Department (EPPD).
NSWCCD engineers and scientists not only enjoy working with students helping them to learn naval science disciplines but they know it is also important to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers who will become the future workforce of the maritime industry.
“I am here because letting kids know they have the knowledge and ability to succeed at science and math is important,” NSWCCD Corrosion and Coatings, Research and Development Team Lead Elissa Bumiller said, “Yes, some of the concepts are difficult, but through working with hands-on projects they can more easily understand how to wire a circuit to run a bristle bot, they can learn how to program the TI bot [Calculator controlled ro[JUMP]bots], they can learn how the SeaPerch moves and how to control it.”
Students get their first taste of how engineers use mathematics and science in designing, building, and testing ships, boats, and submarines by building and operating their SeaPerch projects. SeaPerch is a national outreach effort that engages middle and high school students with science and engineering concepts by allowing them to design and build underwater remotely operated vehicles.
Sprawled out on the gymnasium floor surrounded by TI and Bristle bots, and SeaPerch projectsXiu Chen, an Alice Deal Middle School eighth grader, who has visited Carderock recently at the 2012 Mathcounts Contest said that her favorite aspect of STEM is learning about what scientists have to offer to the next generation.
An essential component of SeaPerch is teacher training. Teachers participate in a two-day training program to “teach the teachers” how to build the SeaPerch, and also discuss curriculum. After teacher training, SeaPerch is built into the curriculum allowing students to learn about principles such as: buoyancy, propulsion, design, electrical, water proofing, tool safety and usage, while also learning about career possibilities that could in turn become a reality for many students across America.
For more information about SeaPerch, please visit: www.seaperch.org, where students and teachers can blog, post video and pictures, and view training video segments of the build process.