2018 International SeaPerch Challenge hosted by RoboNation
June 1-3, 2018 | University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, MA
Strategically maneuvering their SeaPerch ROVs through complicated underwater courses presented a huge challenge to hundreds of students at the 8th Annual International SeaPerch Challenge held June 1-3, 2018 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMassD). The competition, hosted by RoboNation and the Office of Naval Research, brought together teams from 31 states, the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand who earned the right to compete against their peers by winning at 80 registered regional qualifiers held earlier in the year.

This year over 1,200 people gathered for a fun weekend of learning, sharing, competing and heart-pounding excitement, including 170 teams (74 High School teams, 80 Middle School teams, and 16 Open Class teams) comprised of 657 students. Compare this phenomenal growth with the first National SeaPerch Challenge held in Philadelphia in 2011 where just 187 students in 38 teams participated!

Beginning on Friday afternoon, June 1st, arriving teams checked into the UMassD residence halls and then submitted their ROVs for a compliance review at the MacLean Campus Center. Following dinner at The Marketplace on campus, teams participated in the Friday Night Social on the Quad where students had the opportunity to meet, mingle and compare their design enhancements and innovations as well as their challenges along the way.

Competition day on Saturday started bright and early with the opening ceremony in the Tripp Athletic Center Gymnasium which featured a number of notable speakers and last minute technical instructions for the teams.

Excited teams then moved on to the in-pool technical competition where they used their expertise navigating the Challenge course. Additionally, twenty-six teams with top-scoring Engineering Notebooks in the Middle School, High School, and Open Class divisions gave oral presentations to a panel of engineers, educators, and other professionals to showcase their ability to document the engineering design process used to build and modify their SeaPerch to meet the pool challenges.

The excitement continued on Sunday as teams competed in the Obstacle course. The competition both days was intense as many teams successfully navigated both challenges. Teams found inspiration, made new friends, and gained knowledge as they shared their experiences in the team pit area.

For the first time this year, the two-day International SeaPerch Challenge included a STEM Expo where students could try their hand at building a paper table or a rubber band helicopter, driving a V-Perch, or attending a SeaGlide demo. Teams were also assigned STEM Challenges such as creating a tissue paper balloon, an egg glider, a wind turbine, a water rocket, or a rubber band boat for some friendly “coopertition” and to fill the time between competition rounds in the pool.

Throughout the weekend, students enjoyed using SeenIt, a collaborative storytelling tool, which enabled teams to produce high impact videos of their journey to the 2018 International Challenge. Creators of the first 100 videos were given SeaPerch Video Crew t-shirts, and other prizes were given for the most videos submitted and for the best video. Over 450 videos were produced, adding a new level of enthusiasm to the Challenge. Check out the results of this collaborative work here: goo.gl/LWWVgW.

On Sunday afternoon the Awards Ceremony took place at the Tripp Athletic Center Gymnasium where first-through-third place trophies in each event for middle school, high school and open classes, special awards, notebook presentations, and the naming of the 2018 International SeaPerch Champions were made.

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Signature Sponsor: Raytheon

Full results listings can be found here: www.seaperch.org/seaperch_challenge

Photos from the weekend can be found here: goo.gl/7wwEJn

Please check the SeaPerch website in the fall for information about the 2019 International SeaPerch Challenge as well as a listing of registered qualifiers for the 2018-19 competition season.

For more information about RoboNation and other student competitions, please visit www.robonation.org.