Underwater Robotics Team Travels to the Florida Keys
By Upper School Science teacher Xiao Zhang
Members of the Parker underwater robotics team Subaquatic Equations participated in a hands-on ecological field trip run by Pigeon Key Marine Science Center in Florida from Tuesday, March 29 to Friday, April 1. The Center’s mission is to “protect the cultural history of the Florida Keys and educate our youth through marine science curricula and research.”
Subaquatic Equations has existed for four years and competes at the MATE ROV Competition, a remotely operated vehicle challenge that “engages a global community of learners each year.” The competition challenges its teams “to design and build an ROV and the necessary sensors and tooling to support work to combat climate change, provide clean energy, feed our growing global population, monitor ocean health, preserve our maritime history and ‘deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want!’” Last year, the Parker ROV team proudly represented the school at the MATE ROV World Competition hosted by the University of East Tennessee.
During the field trip, students learned about the Keys’ marine ecosystems with its native and invasive species through presentations by the staff and hands-on field study—for example, at the island’s tide pool. Students also enjoyed exploring the ecosystems at Pigeon Key and prepared for the regional competition on Saturday, May 7. Team members explained the MATE ROV competition to the staff and presented their competition pitch.
This field trip is supported by the school’s Jill Harris Grant, which funds environmental and ecological education at Francis W. Parker School.