Hillsboro High School and Verona High School competed. Two Richland Center teams emerged victorious,
according to Thomas, with “Russell Krauts” finishing
first and “Sea Sharks” taking second. The top two
teams are eligible to compete at the National SeaPerch
Challenge at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta on
“Science and technology careers exist in a culture of
inspiration, discovery and innovation,” Thomas said.
“Fortunately, Richland Center, Kickapoo, Hillsboro and
Verona high school science teachers feel the same way
and have included SeaPerch in their curriculum.”
In California, the EV Cain STEM Charter School in
Auburn was the beneficiary of a $1,000 Navy League
STEM grant for its SeaPerch program — attained by
the Placer County Council — that will end up benefit-
ing other schools in the area as well.
“While we had anticipated that we would need
to use some of the funds to purchase additional
SeaPerches (we had 5 teams last year) as well as the
‘hack’ components, we had enough kits and supplies to use what we already had,” EV Cain Principal
Cindy Giove wrote in a report to Navy League STEM
Committee Chairman Don Anderson, a member of the
Placer County Council who helped facilitate the grant.
“This allowed us to share supplies with two schools
[Harvest Ridge and Newcastle Elementary School] so
that we can hold our first competition.
“Additionally, we are planning to take our students
to the University of Monterey Bay to tour the campus
and meet with their team to view and discuss their
Underwater Rover program including the data they
receive and how they apply that data.”
Another $1,000 Navy League STEM grant to the
Marin County, Calif., Council, supplemented with
$300 from the council, allowed the NSCC’s Band of the
West unit to acquire a drone kit with enhanced aerial
photo capabilities, according to Council Secretary and
Director Charles L. Coleman III.
“The Cadets managed to work together to successfully
assemble the drone kit and attached photo recon equipment, and are now continuing to train on maintenance/
troubleshooting as well as actual deployment of the unit.
This grant truly is a ‘gift that keeps on giving,’” Coleman
wrote in a report on the grant.
Along with exposing participants to careers that are
possible in naval architecture, marine/ocean engineering, electronics, programming and other disciplines,
STEM programs help promote creative thinking,
teamwork and communication skills. And it’s those
underlying elements that can help students later in
life, no matter what career path they choose.
“One of the benefits of the STEM education,
especially, when you’re looking at the hands-on
problem-solving pieces, kids see success at whatever
level they are at, so it encourages them to continue, it
encourages kids to think outside the box, to complete
the job they are doing when there is not a blueprint
for them to follow. The onus is on them,” said Marla
Crouch, a STEM educator with the Issaquah, Wash.,
School District outside of Seattle and a member of the
Lake Washington Council.
“You hear the kids talking to each other, ‘well we
can do it this way. Well, why do you want to do it that
way?’ Asking those questions. And if we can get kids to
be good question askers and articulate what they want,
or why they are going there, it really supports the crit-
ical thinking and the higher-level thinking skills that
help the kids develop.”
With her robotics club, Crouch uses the Marine
Advanced Technology Education (MATE) program,
which is similar to the SeaPerch program. The MATE
Center offers a suite of underwater robot or ROV kits
and learning modules for students at the elementary-,
middle- and high-school level, and provides the
opportunity for regional, national and international
competitions, all of which promote fun and learning
at the same time.
“When I look at the SeaPerch or the MATE programs, they’re doing physics or electrical work,
they’re doing really complicated science concepts
and practicing them and they don’t even realize that
they’re doing them,” Crouch said. “And that confidence builder is really good.” n
Information on the Navy League STEM Institute and the grant
program is available online at: http://navyleague.org/stem/
The “Russell Krauts” team from Richland Center High School took
first place at the Southwest Wisconsin Regional High School SeaPerch
Challenge. The team, back row from the left, was made up of Noah
Johnson, Caleb Coleman, Adam Rynes and Spencer Stowell. In the
front row, from the left, are Madison Council Navy Leaguers Alan
Kromanaker, Herb Thomas and Ed Nowicki, who coordinated the event.