Among others, many Hilltopper alumni from the class of 2014 came back to visit last week for the Thanksgiving Chapel. It was great to see everyone to celebrate Thanksgiving together! Alumni are welcome back to the school for many chapels, assemblies, and performances. Call the Alumni Office at 218-727-7266 x107 if you would like more information about upcoming events.
Marshall Boys Hockey had a great night against Rochester Lourdes last Friday, with the JV coming away with a 2-1 win, and the Varsity team remaining undefeated with a hard-fought 5-4 victory! The Varsity team wore throwback Topper jerseys in honor of Alumni Weekend. More photos can be found on the Marshall Facebook page at www.facebook.com/marshallhilltoppers. #Toppers
Students in First Lego League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics (FRC) were all treated to a visit from current Marshall School parent Jay Austin November 24th. Austin is a physics professor at UMD, and he introduced the students to a real-life example of what robotics and engineering can create with a drone called the Slocum Electric Glider.
According to Webb Research Corporation, “the Slocum Glider is a uniquely mobile network component capable of moving to specific locations and depths and occupying controlled spatial and temporal grids.” The underwater robot uses sensors and the ability to change buoyancy to collect data at various depths and times. “Nokomis,” one of the two gliders owned by UMD, and one of only three freshwater Slocum Gliders in existence, was even on display in the front of the room. Between Nokomis and its partner “Gitchi Gami,” around 800 miles of surveying have been completed.
According to Marshall Physics teacher Paul Schonfeld, “In FRC, FTC, and FLL, our robots compete to play games against each other, which is great fun and gives students the skills they need to design and build robots. Jay Austin's work with the Slocum Glider shows students how their skills can be used for exploring questions, curiosities, and solving engineering problems.”
They learned about the drone’s power source and capabilities, like the fact that it can travel 25 km a day for 100 days on a single battery, which is roughly the equivalent of traveling from Duluth to San Francisco. But UMD plans to stay within Lake Superior. The glider is placed in the lake and is meant to measure different aspects of the water. Austin gave the students a chance to guess what the glider measured, and between the 20 or so robotics students, each important piece of data was mentioned, right down to turbidity, which is the cloudiness of water.
The students also learned the challenges of handling a robot remotely. The creators of the glider had to figure out portable power sources, ways to communicate with the glider, and how to enable it to track its location without GPS, which wouldn’t work when the glider was underwater.
“What I liked about the presentation was that it gave students an opportunity to see how robotics is applied to real-world challenges,” said Schonfeld.
Overall, the presentation was a valuable opportunity for the robotics students to see that the lessons and skills they are acquiring in school and during robotics competitions are applicable to the real world. Careers in robotics and engineering are a crucial part of scientific discovery, and getting an up close and personal look at a product of that was a fun and important opportunity.