AuTrain-Onota students test Underwater ROV

Students piloted Remote Operated Vehicles to scout fish habitats.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:45 PM EDT
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AU TRAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - An Alger County School is trying to educate students about how robotics can be used to help the environment.

Students from AuTrain-Onota Public Schools prepared Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) for the Au Train Lake waters on Wednesday. Ten students constructed three rovers.

6th grader Vera Nettleton said this project has been a bonding experience for her and her classmates.

“I’ve learned that wiring is definitely really difficult sometimes,” Nettleton said. “But while you’re doing it, it is really fun, it’s just a really fun time.”

Students piloted these rovers to scout fish habitats. Students also tied timber and brush together which will provide food and shelter for the fish of Au Train Lake. Alger Conservation District Manager Matt Watkeys said this collaboration benefits the students and the environment.

“We’re just hoping the students are, not only practicing with the rover and getting hands-on experience, aside from being in an indoor setting like a pool, so we’re learning about the currents of the lake and the obstacles that might be here that they can get caught up on,” Watkeys said. “But all about having them learn about natural resources and trying to do better for our environment.”

Teacher Amy Pihlainen-Gabler said she wants her students to be able to apply what they learned to the world around them.

“It’s really fun to build robots and to compete with them, but I really want them to find the relevance of what they’re learning,” Pihlainen-Gabler said. “I want them to be stewards of their environment and care about the environment around them.”

These students will be taking their rovers to Lake Superior State University next month to compete against schools across the Upper Peninsula.