SeAL Engineering Challenge a Great Success

SeAL Engineering Challenge a Great Success
Posted on 05/07/2019


     Suffolk Public Schools is hosting the second annual Sea, Air and Land Challenge on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at Col. Fred Cherry Middle School. The event, nicknamed the SeAL Challenge, developed by Penn State Electro-Optics Center, and sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, provides engineering challenges for middle and high school students. The challenges are based on military and first responder relevant scenarios. True to the name, the engineering challenges are held underwater, in the air, and on the ground. Teams of students worked throughout the school semester to design, develop, and build unmanned vehicles and custom payloads for each challenge.

      The objectives of the Sea, Air and Land Challenge are three-fold. The first objective of the program is to provide students with an opportunity to tackle a difficult engineering project involving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), while still in middle or high school. The second objective is to provide students with an awareness of the outstanding technical careers in the Department of Defense and armed forces. The third objective of the program is to help educators and administrators implement a successful STEM program into their schools given time, budget and resource constraints. 

     On Saturday, 14 teams will come together at Col. Fred Cherry Middle School to showcase their systems. Fifty students will compete, representing Forest Glen Middle, John F. Kennedy Middle, Col. Fred Cherry Middle, King’s Fork High, and Lakeland High.  A team from Norfolk Public Schools (Norfolk Technical Center) and even from Sarasota, Florida (Booker High School).  The team from Florida is interested in bringing the program to their state, which is now only operating in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and now Virginia. 

     Aerial challenges will be conducted with the students flying quadcopters. All students wishing to pilot on the day of the event must pass a flight certification test and their system is required to pass a flight worthiness test prior to Challenge Day. The students have built payloads which are attached to their quadcopter and then release an object to hit certain targets. The sea challenge takes place in a 1,500-gallon tank. The land course involves robotic systems engineered to maneuver through obstacle courses and completing their mission within 10 minutes.

     The Challenges are scored by a panel of judges from industry, military, education, and business, all of whom volunteer the time to generously support the initiative.  Judges from RRMM Architects, Huntington Ingalls, Penn State University, Academy of Model Aeronautics, and two former Suffolk students.

     The opening address will be from Lieutenant Commander William Corrigan from the U.S. Navy.  Virginia State Police will also be demonstrating the robots they use in tactical situations.

     The program aligns with the SPS 5-year strategic plan to "Deepen student learning through real world connections, cross-curricular content integration, project-based learning and performance based assessment."


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