STEM Academy students build underwater robots thanks to Navy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

STEM Academy students build underwater robots

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We've seen Savannah Chatham County public schools go through a lot of outward changes.  

They've experienced groundbreakings, construction and some moving around, but there are a lot of changes in the classroom as well.

At the new STEM Academy, students are building water robots thanks to their teachers who applied for a U.S. Naval grant called Seaperch. 

The 7th graders are diving into learning with their new underwater robots.  Jaiden Rath says she learns much better "hands on" than anything else.

She grew up around water in Alaska, and says this class will help her achieve her dreams of working in marine science.

"It teaches you skills like engineering, and engineering would be good if you're going to build robots and vehicles to explore the ocean, and I think that would be a great career to take on because we need to know so much more about the ocean," Rath said.

Students use math as well, measuring pieces, putting them together and making sure everything moves and works in harmony.

The STEM Academy, which is the old Bartlett Middle School, began this year and just like other specialty schools in the district, it works on a lottery system. 

D'Quan Douse likes math so much he made sure his mom put in for a seat.

"I knew it was going to be a different school," said Douse. "I knew it was going to be a technology school, and I like technology.  I think it was going to be a great program."

Although the ROV is brand new, students have been working on LEGO Mindstorms.  They build them from the ground up and then they're graded on their program performance. When they finish building the robots, they have to program them to do tasks.

However, with the ROVs, the students use remote controls, meaning building circuit boards and soldering wires.

Rath likes using her hands and working with others, commenting, "You turn it over and look at it. It's really great we do a lot of projects, and it's great too because we choose the projects we get to work on."

Douse agrees and says it's a balance of fun and fundamentals. "It's kinda both. You gotta switch gears and have fun, then get serious, then back to fun."

This weekend, a team from the school will be competing in the LEGO Mindstorm robotics competition at Savannah State. 

In April the school hopes to compete with their brand new ROV'S in a competition at the Chatham County Aquatic Center. 

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