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High Schoolers face off in “Sea Air Land Challenge”

Jefferson County

Rayland, OH (WTRF) — Dozens of students faced off with robots, putting their STEM skills to the test.

They call it “Sea Air Land Challenge.”

High Schoolers from Buckeye Local, Martins Ferry, and Wheeling Catholic Central stepped it up with only each other and their problem solving skills to reply on.

“It’s so neat to see different groups look at things in a different way. When I had my kids build a robot, here’s what it has to do… Go figure it out.”

Jeff Merrill, Buckeye Local High School math teacher

Every team has a robotic device, whether it be a robot, drone, or an underwater ROV. Each all built and designed by the students, as they competed in close to real life stimulations.

“It’s roughly based off what the Navy seals do, like if there was an earthquake and they had to send robots in to find survivors.”

Jeff Merrill, Buckeye Local High School math teacher

Math teacher Jeff Merrill’s talking about a real life situation, which is similar to the part of the challenge where the robots compete on land.
But there’s also an air and sea part to the compeition.

All challenges, in the air, sea or on land, are similar. They each work with color-coded blocks. On land and in the sea, competitors move as many blocks as they can in a box with their robot or underwater device. But in the air, competitors fly a drone and drop stuff to hit a target.

If the kids don’t succeed in the first go around, they have a second shot to fix what didn’t work.

“Second time is usually more of a challenge.”

Jeff Merrill, Buckeye Local High School math teacher

And that’s usually when the problem-solving skills kick in: one of the many skills the teachers say kids can learn from this.

“The biggest thing is teamwork, troubleshooting, and just the camaraderie they get with other kids from other schools.”

Jeff Merrill, Buckeye Local High School math teacher

And the kids sure have learned a lot, especially in the trials and errors.

“My group, we didn’t do as well as we wanted to. But, I think bigger than that, are the experinces we got out of it. We were able to work with the other Sea team here today, and came up with ideas for the future.”

Margaret Zell, Central Catholic High School

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