GEMS preparing for underwater robot competition

Published 2:57 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County High School Girls Engaged in Math and Science team are creating an underwater robot as this school year’s project.

The seven-member team presented information about GEMS and their project to the Clanton Lions Club on Dec. 1.

All of this year’s members are seniors.

GEMS Advisor James LeCroy said the Lions Club is a sponsor of the project.

Anna Smith said GEMS is “a club to involve girls in all kinds of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activity, and then we can solve real-life problems.”

Madison Minor said robots that can go underwater have been used in the past to clean up oil spills.

Abigail Porter said they have learned how to program a robot “to tell it what to do.” The group has been preparing for the first round of competition in March.

“At competition, we need to be able to maneuver over obstacles and pick them up and move them out of the way,” Porter said.

The robot also has to propel through water.

Last year, the team made it to the state science fair competition with their water-powered engine.

“It separated the hydrogen and oxygen in the water and when it came back together it released energy that would power our engine,” Tilby Miller said.

In February, the team will present to younger girls at the McWane Science Center about STEM.

“Computer Science is an industry that is growing,” Madi Price said.

She said programming is a part of a many industries, and it is important for students to have the opportunity to learn about it.

Some of the girls involved this year were in GEMS in elementary school. Allie Lightsey said her elementary GEMS team project focused on translucent, transparent and opaque materials. She said they were the only project that year invited to present to a major GEMS contributor.

“I’m super thankful for this organization and just the love that it has sparked in me, because to this day my favorite subject is math,” Lightsey said. “I plan on pursuing a career based off of science.”

Miller joined GEMS in fifth grade. That first project combined food and science in the study of cells.

Last year, the team was able to observe a marine biologist and participate in collection and study of aquatic life during a trip to Dauphin Island.

Hannah Wilson said community members and the LeCroy Career Technical Center helped fund last year’s project.

GEMS is working to raise funds for this year.

“The money that we receive will be used for parts and extra equipment for the underwater robot,” Wilson said.

For more information about making a monetary contribution for the project, contact LeCroy at 205-299-0889 or CCHS Principal Ron Pinson at 205-280-2710.