MLA students build innovative underwater robots


Marshalltown Learning Academy student Jacob Borton works on constructing an underwater robot as part of a science project at the school recently.

A group of Marshalltown Learning Academy students volunteered to participate in a SeaPerch personalized learning opportunity at MLA. 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). Students build the ROV following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts.

The SeaPerch program provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science and mathematics while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum. Throughout the project, students will learn engineering concepts, problem solving and technical applications.

“The SeaPerch PELO gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the new Iowa Science Standards, specifically the standards on engineering and density. Many of the new standards are performance expectations and by building SeaPerch students can show that they understand engineering practices and adjust their designs for use in the water,” said MLA science teacher Kevin Kenealy.

Through programs like SeaPerch, Marshalltown Learning Academy is engaging and inspiring students by exposing them to exciting, hands-on, and mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, while at the same time fostering self-confidence and life skills.

The students said they were inspired by the hands-on learning.

“It’s a very nice learning experience,” said student Christian Aguirre. “I’m picking up new skills, working along with my classmates and getting to build something.”

The SeaPerch initiative at Marshalltown Learning Academy was funded, in part, by a grant from the Wells Fargo Community Grant program.