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Davis Journal

Robots take over Layton Surf ‘n Swim

Mar 05, 2021 04:00AM ● By Becky Ginos

LAYTON—Typically the pool at Layton Surf ‘n Swim is full of swimmers. Last Saturday, it was full of underwater robots. Students from Doxey Elementary, Sunset Elementary and Shoreline Junior High competed with their robotic operated vehicles (ROV) in the annual SeaPerch event.

“They’re fifth and sixth graders and junior high students,” said Doxey Elementary teacher and advisor Bethany Carlton. “They’ve been working on them (ROV) since November. They had to start later because of COVID. We were supposed to go to Weber State but it was reserved for students so we had to find our own pool.”

The competition was made up of three categories, she said. “Engineering design, mission course and obstacle course.”

They were real-life scenarios, Carlton said. “The kids had their robots pick up objects that represented garbage and put it into a sunken cage. They had to open it and put it in. They also had to pick up floating garbage and bring it to the side. We had a missile/mine underwater and they had to disable it and their ROV had to go under and check for submarines. It’s all based on real life.”

Students learned about buoyancy in order to run their ROV through the pool, she said. “They had to waterproof their motors and learn how to wire a circuit board correctly. We use a toilet flap to keep the water out. The kids really got a kick out of that.”

Carlton’s is an after school robotics club but Shoreline runs her as a class. “Sunset holds theirs on Friday during remote day.”

Kids can make their own design too. “They can do whatever they choose,” she said. “One student had four or five motors on it.”

The top team in the competition goes on to nationals. “It’s virtual so they have to write a five page report on why they chose the design, what was difficult about the competition and do a video interview,” Carlton said. “We hope to have a winner by March 10.”

Teams are made up of eight kids each. “We’ve been going to Ben Lomond to practice and we’ve been working on the buoyancy to get it just right,” she said. “The students have had a lot of fun doing this.”