History, math and science lessons come alive at Nauticus

Eight-grade students left the classroom and took their lessons to the field, per say, on Wednesday, Jan. 7. The students, under the supervision of several parents and faculty members, turned their history, science and math lessons into a live demonstration of subject matter while visiting Nauticus.

The field trip was a cross curriculum event in which students were able to get a sneak peek of upcoming history topics, while also using their science and math knowledge in several teambuilding activities. The daylong exercise included a guided tour of Nauticus, where they learned about the Port of Virginia and the evolution of submarines.

The hands-on portion of the lesson included two projects in which students broke up into smaller teams and were tasked with projects that combined their lessons. The first of which was a battle of the battleships in which their math and science skills combined. During the activity, students were charged with building slingshots with pens, tape, binder clips, Rubberbands and Nerf darts. Once their slingshot was built, they had to shoot their projectiles into several buckets (which were meant to be battleships) with varying point values. In the end, the team with the most point was the victor. 

“Students had to measure the angles of launch and distance of the projectiles and figure out how adjusting the angles would assist them in reaching the targets,” said science teacher Claire Fornsel. 

“It was a lesson in turret physics,” said eighth-grade student Jake Georges. “We learned how the angle can affect how high the projectile can go.”

First, we had to “measure the angle and then measure the distance. We’ll be using that data in follow-up assignments,” said added his classmate Lila Spurgeon. 

Students also broke into teams to design and build their own remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The lesson touched on their knowledge of robotics from science class, but also served as a sneak peak to their upcoming history lessons in World War I u-boat and submarine warfare. 

“Students learned about the different types and uses for ROV's,” said Fornsel. “They then formed teams to identify a shipwreck using information gathered from a research vessel off of Crete, Greece.” 

There challenge was “to collect artifacts from the shipwreck, or to collect samples and test temperatures near an underwater volcano,” added history teacher Dana Carr. To do so, the teams were tasked with designing and building a ROV, which was then test driven in Nauticus’ ROV tank.

Students had to look at the various types of robots and decide which one would work best for their challenge, which included building a ROV from PVC pipes, a motor and propellers and adjusting the attached buoys to get their ROV to ascend and descend. 

“I definitely learned a lot. We learned a lot more about the history aspect than I thought we would,” said Lila. “I was expecting a museum tour, but then we went on the Wisconsin, and did those other activities, which was really fun.”