Buddy Taylor Middle School Students Take Top Three in Seaperch Competition

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Buddy Taylor Middle School’s SeaPerch program participants had their first win in Jacksonville, taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. We were able to talk with Tracy Jones who told us about the program, and it’s significance for students.

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What is underwater robotics, how many students participate and what are the goals of this program? Seaperch is an aquatic remote operated vehicle (ROV). It is similar to a remote controlled submarine. We had 9 students participate in the program at Buddy Taylor Middle School this year. The goal of this program is to help students learn engineering skills in a fun and creative environment. Students must design and build their ROVs from scratch using the given supplies in their kits.

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What do the students learn in this program? Students use engineering and science skills to create, build, test, and improve on their robots. Students have to keep an Engineering Notebook where they write down their ideas, draft designs, and test results. Students learn real world skills from tool safety and engineering to dedication and perseverance.

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What kind of competitions do they take part in? What is the significance of these competitions? Students participate in a Regional Competition where they have to navigate their ROVs through a timed Obstacle Course containing a series of 5 hoops. They also have to complete a series of tasks in the Mission Challenge course consisting of picking up objects, retrieving samples, and opening and closing doors. We participated in the Greater Jacksonville Seaperch Competition on April 13. The first place finisher in the Regional Competition receives an invitation to Internations. Internationals will be held at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. Teams from all over the world will be competing at the international event.

Are there high-school level programs for these students to continue in when they graduate from Buddy Taylor Middle School? Seaperch is designed for grades 6 through 12, but I have used it with 5th graders in the past. There are other ROV opportunities at the high school with drones, but I am not sure about SeaPerch currently.

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What has been the most memorable moment for you in leading these kids in underwater robotics? The look on their faces when they finally made it through the hoops at practice. Watching them accomplish different stages of the Mission Challenge. Their sense of accomplishment made it all worth it.

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How significant is the win that these kids had in Jacksonville? Can you elaborate how special this win is for these kids and what it means to be moving up to the next competition in Maryland? How much bigger is this next competition? 21 middle school teams from across the Northeast Florida region competed at the Greater Jacksonville Seaperch Competition. Buddy Taylor took home 1st , 2nd, and 3rd place. This was the students first year with the Seaperch program. BTMS was the only Flagler school represented. The significance of the win is showing these students that they can achieve their goals as long as they don’t give up. The 2023 Internationals hosted 147 middle and high school teams from all over the world. Over 35 countries and all 50 states have Seaperch programs available.

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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