Tulsa Students Take Underwater Robot Challenge

Saturday, January 12th 2013, 7:38 pm
By: Tess Maune

A group of Green Country students are putting their math and science skills to the test underwater. They are competing in a challenge unlike any other.

Ben Coursen, 11, is one of dozens of students participating in the underwater robot competition.

"It's basically a submarine, but it's - that, it's a submarine," Ben said.

Some may say it's a submarine - others may call it by a different name.

"I named mine the Narwhal because it's got a little horn on it, and it was blue," said another student.

Regardless of what you call it - the little robots are proof that practical goods can go a long way.

You've got PVC pipe, cut perfectly to size, some foam - to keep it floating and an empty tub of sour cream. Voila, a functioning underwater robot - each handmade by the scientists and engineers of the future.

7/30/2012 Related Story: Navy Teaches Tulsa-Area Teachers To Build Underwater Robots

"We ballasted it, which is where you get the weight measured where you can make it go down and come back up," Ben said.

"They're going to test it out with a series of obstacles," said Joyce Kim, a Naval Academy systems engineer major.

Students and faculty from the U.S. Naval Academy are judging the robots on things like speed and functionality.

"The buoyancy and stuff - it's really fun," said 11-year-old Ben Coursen.

But competition, aside, the event has made learning science, technology, engineering and math exciting for these students.

"We learned that you have to follow the instructions exactly or it won't work, and you have to use teamwork and not just let one person do it," said Candace Paschal, a Broken Arrow ninth grader.

Lessons these kids can carry with them for a lifetime.