In 66 minutes, fifth graders are building a better underwater robot. Â At Columbia River Maritime Museum, 150 fifth graders from Lewis and Clark Elementary School had the chance to design, build and deploy underwater robots that they had built themselves.
â€śThe main goal for me with the education department here is to make everything hands-on and activity based,â€ť said Nate Sandel, manager ofÂ the museumâ€™s education department.
Sandel told the students that they were to design, build and deploy an underwater robot that would retrieve one of seven mission short barrel cannons of a schooner that wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1846, the USS Shark. Â The catch was that they had to do it in 66 minutes or less.
Some of the lost cannons have been previously found and restored. Â Two were found in 2008 by a 12 year old girl walking on the beach with her dad. Â One was found by a mail carrier in 1898.
Students had some basic instructions, and split off into teams of two and three. Â Soon the workroom at the maritime center was buzzing with teams putting together PVC pipes, figuring out how to set their engines, and how to balance and float the submersibles.