SFA students put classroom-made robots to the test underwater

Updated: Mar. 2, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Some eighth grade students at Stephen F. Austin Middle School in Bryan are headed to a regional robotics competition.

The Odyssey Academy students from SFA took class out of of the classroom and into the pool at Advanced Therapy Aquatics and Wellness to test their underwater robots.

“It gives them a really abstract challenge. Something you don’t typically do in a middle school setting,” said Parker Knutson, one of their engineering teachers. “They have to do the engineering design process. They have documentation that they keep track of. And they have to build their robots, underwater robots, from scratch–the motors, every aspect of it.”

Those underwater robots, controlled by their young creators, competed in two courses: a speed challenge and a practical skills challenge–all underwater.

“We also learned how to work in tough situations,” said one student, Peyton Gibson. “Like my group had a problem with our robot that we had to fix before our test. But we ended up pulling through.”

The winning team from SFA will enter into a regional robotics competition in Georgetown, but their teachers will consider every student a success.

“We’re immensely proud of them,” said Knutson. “It’s amazing to see something that I never thought that I could do in middle school, to see these kids do on a daily basis.”

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