Students from around San Diego County will compete on Saturday using tiny, remote-control submarines of their own design to video sharks at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.

Students will test their SeaPerch robot designs on their first dives. The task is to video different local shark species in a 21,000-gallon exhibit. Among the species are leopard sharks, grey smoothhound sharks, horn sharks, swell sharks, shovel-nose guitarfish, bat rays, round rays and diamond rays.

A student-built SeaPerch mini submarine. Photo courtesy SeaPerch

Navy mentors from USS Coronado and USS Milwaukee will be on hand to assist the students as they modify their designs to be more sea worthy and shark friendly.

Sponsors of the event expect 37 teams from county schools, including Carlton Hills in Santee, Knox Middle and Wangenheim in San Diego, San Ysidro High and Willow School in San Ysidro.

The unique event is sponsored by San Diego State University under a national grant to encourage students to explore the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

SeaPerch is a nationwide program providing students with the opportunity to learn the STEM disciplines while building a mini underwater vehicle. Students learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, and technical applications.

Building a SeaPerch encourages students to explore naval architecture and marine and ocean engineering principles and careers.

— From a San Diego State University press release

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.