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Private All Girls School | Girls K-8 | Co-Ed Preschool | Malvern, PA

Eighth Grade to Race Underwater ROVs in Villa’s Pool This Week

On Friday, March 18, Villa Maria Academy Lower School’s eighth grade students will race their underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs) in Villa’s swimming pool as the culmination of the Sea Perch program that they have been working on all semester with Instruction Technology Coach, Mrs. Melissa Dow and Middle School Science Teacher, Mrs. Shannon Duke.

“It’s by far one of my favorite projects that I do with the girls,” said Mrs. Dow. “The girls were presented with a box of parts in February, and they had to follow the steps to construct it by soldering and drilling and using a pipe cutter to cut the pipes to assemble this vehicle that they get to program and race. It is always really fun to watch them build and be so proud of what they are doing.”

The girls have been working in the lab the past few weeks to finish constructing their vehicles and program them with Mrs. Dow. The girls also learned how to calculate the density and buoyancy of their vehicles with Mrs. Duke. “We integrate the knowledge learned from building and working SeaPerch into the classroom by timing lessons according to the various building stages,” said Mrs. Duke. Each team also got to decorate their ROV to express their team’s individuality. The girls get to test out their ROVs in the pool before the race to see if they need to make and tweaks to their programming before the final launch on the 18th.

At the culminating event next Friday, the girls’ first grade ‘little sisters’ will attend to cheer them on. There will be a series of races until the final two winning teams compete for the trophy.

Villa is very fortunate to be able to offer this program to our students and present the possibilities of technical careers to our girls. Mrs. Dow said she was so proud when one of the eighth graders told her that for yearbook she was putting “Engineer” in the “what I want to be when I grow up” category. “Whether that happens or not, I’m so glad that these girls now know that they have that option. That is our mission at Villa, to instill that love for learning and give girls that confidence to become their best selves, and convince them that they can be the difference in the world.”

SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting. Students build the ROV from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts, following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme. The SeaPerch Program provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEM) while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum. Throughout the project, students will learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications. (

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