JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) — By sea, by air, and by land.

It’s a saying often referring to Navy SEALS.

Local students prepared for their missions in those three categories, but with a twist. 

It is the 4th annual Sea Air and Land Challenge.  

It tests students’ STEM knowledge where they design remote control robots to compete in timed tasks. 

The event is sponsored by Penn State University’s Electro-Optics Center. Schools from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia traveled to Buckeye Local High School for the competition.  

Ohio’s Regional Coordinator, Jeff Merrill says these kids work countless hours to prepare and it’s all trial and error.  

It is a sea, air, land challenge. So, we do underwater robots. We do air drones, and we do land robots. It is basically roughly based off of what the Navy SEALS would do in actual missions, and so there is a lot of real world application to this.

In each of those things there are targets and objectives. The first thing they had to do in February was present a preliminary design review, and there’s a rubric that goes along with that, and they have to talk about the design of their robot, the functionality of it, the cost. All those things are involved there, so that is part of their scoring.

Jeff Merrill, math teacher BLHS, regional coordinator for Ohio 
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Students work in teams to design, build and compete.

The Martins Ferry group has been working all year long and it’s paying off.  

I’m on the air team. We built this. We used this drone and built all the attachments for it so that we could drop the things in the designated areas and then scan the QR codes to know where to drop them at. They said we did really good in the first round.

We had 10-minute time limit and we did it in under 4 minutes. But we missed one of the boxes whenever we dropped, so hopefully we can get that in that box and maybe bring the time down a little bit.

Walker Romshak, Martins Ferry High School, Sophomore  

In each category there are several rounds.

Students are able to make physical modifications in between to help improve their scores.  

Buckeye Local’s team was having some problems with their sea robot.  

I am on the sea team and the air team. On the sea team, I was trying to rewire the relays because some of the relays came undone, so our power wire wasn’t working.

It’s very hard and water leaked into our relay box, so I don’t know how it was still working, but it was.

Corissa Griffith, Buckeye Local High School, Junior 

Many students say they enjoy working with their team and showcasing their abilities.

One student says it can be challenging but is so rewarding.