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Learning about the Great Lakes

September 11, 2012
By STACEY KUKKONEN - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Like a fish in the water, a yellow robot darted around the dock at the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University Monday afternoon.

A handful of students on the dock watched as the underwater robot made its way around the water, controlled by students in their class from Menominee Catholic Central School.

"Bring your camera up a little bit so you can see where you're going," Jamey Anderson, a coordinator for operations at the GLRC, told a group of girls controlling the robot from a stationed camera on the dock.

Article Photos

Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Students control an underwater robot at the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University with the help of Jamey Anderson, a coordinator for operations. A group of students from Menominee Catholic Central School visited Michigan Technological University to play with an underwater robot Monday and learn about the Great Lakes.

Like a video game, the robot is controlled by the user who maneuvers it around the water, and Monday, all of the students in the class tried moving it around. Monday afternoon, they even caught a glimpse of a fish.

"We've taken the scientific step of attaching somebody's locket to it," he said.

The locket could be seen on the camera and the students enjoyed seeing the findings underwater.

Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade teacher Jen Motkowski said the school group was split into two. While some students spent the day on the Agassiz research vessel, the other half worked out of classrooms at the GLRC, learning about water resources.

"They're having a great time," she said.

This was the eighth year the group has traveled from the school to take part in learning projects at Michigan Tech. Motkowski has even traveled with the group five years running now and said the students enjoy the trip every year.

"It's a great opportunity for the students to do a lot of hands-on activities," she said.

Today, the other half of the class took the research vessel while the other half worked at the GLRC, learning about the Great Lakes. Since this is the first year the GLRC has been in place, in years past, the students took mine tours and learned about mining.

"This is a great first-hand opportunity for them,"?Motkowski said.



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