Underwater R.O.V. design and fabrication

BY David Arnold 

Wareham High School

Project Description

The Goal of this grant is to fund the development and introduction of a teaching unit that will have students design and build operational underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). An ROV is a system that combines electrical, mechanical and (sometimes) optical systems to perform tasks that are distant and/or hostile to the operator. Context: Wareham is a seaside community with many close ties to the marine environment both recreational and commercial. ROV programs are growing in Southeastern MA. For example, similar programs have sprung up in Dartmouth & Rochester. I co-developed and co-led a robust ROV program in Marshfield for five years prior to coming to Wareham. The key objective of this grant is to jump start a similar program in Wareham, which is a community well suited for the practical use and exploration of underwater ROV technology as a learning tool. Activities: Students will work in teams to design, build, and test underwater ROVs using low voltage electric motors, PVC piping, and common electrical supplies. Students will design, fabricate, test and compare ROV prototypes, critique then redesign their models. Designs will begin as single view line drawings then orthographic projects and isometric views prior to fabrication. Fabrication will employ shop tools and processes. Prototypes will be initially tested by being immersed in a viewing tank and later a nearby estuary. As the program moves forward, the longer term goal is to enter student designs into local underwater ROV competitions, such as MATE offered through Bristol Community College.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

Class success will be determined by the completion of at least five working underwater ROVs per semester. Student success will be determined by both formative and summative evaluations of student work in the Technology Education areas of engineering design, power and energy electrical and fluid systems, and manufacturing technology. The student skills assessed as each project progresses include: multi-view technical drawing, engineering design, electrical design wiring & soldering, fluid system design, material selection, fabrication, environmental assessment and prototype redesign. Longer term program success can be indicated by further student interest in engineering as a course of study, e.g. a full year engineer course, tied to an afterschool engineering club with students entering into local engineering competitions.

Benefit to the students and the school

This project is self-sustaining and yet can also be extended into other programs and disciplines. The materials purchased will be reusable, and will provide the students and the school with and educational unit that will last many years, and have many cross-curricular applications. This grant will effectively create the first formal engineering unit in WHS’s Technology Department. It is a logical first step in this direction given both its low cost and my experience with ROVs in other school systems. The money will go toward a proven unit and technology. The ROV unit will also serve as a meaningful bridge to WHS Science instruction with electronics being taught to all 9th grade Physics students. This form of learning is more relevant and more applied than students might experience in other parts of their education–Students will be able to see the impact of their learning and work directly within their ROV designs. The school and the town will gain a sustainable, publicly relevant and appealing project to serve as an example for Middle School students and neighboring communities.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

1) Curriculum and project development — Complete. 2) Material ordering and procurement — February 2016 3) Student design phase — April – May 2016. 4) Student fabrication and testing of prototypes — early June 2016. 5) Project Reflection and necessary redesign — mid June 2016. 6) Project to be repeated each semester in subsequent school years. 

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