activity page will offer:
An experience that recreates the remote exploration of the
hands-on activity using a remote-controlled vehicle.
exercise in uncovering targets through methodical searching.
- Remote-controlled car
- Bar magnet
- Small iron washers
- Masking tape
- Use tape to attach the magnet to the side or front of
a remote-controlled car. Make sure that the magnet extends
from the side of the vehicle and skims just above the surface
as the car moves. The magnet must be positioned so it can
pick up bits of magnetic metal as it moves over them. You
may need to use tape to build up the surface between the
magnet and the bottom of the car to get it low enough to
- Use tape to lay out a grid on a floor surface that is
flat. The columns and rows of the grid pattern should be
the same width as the remote-controlled car. Begin with
a grid that is about 10 rows by 10 columns.
- Paint the iron washers so that they blend with the floor
- Position your remote-controlled car in the center of the
- Stand about five meters from the grid.
- Face away from the grid. Have your instructor randomly
place five camouflaged washers on the grid pattern.
- Turn around. Your job is to develop a pattern that would
best uncover the unseen targets. Implement your plan to
see how many washers you can collect.
- Why was it important to camouflage the iron washers?
- Could plastic chips have been substituted for the washers?
- Describe your search pattern.
- What makes a search pattern effective?
your instructor's approval, compose two lists. One list should
detail all of the advantages of using robotic vehicles. The
other list should include all of the disadvantages of this
exploration tool. Using these lists as a starting point, write
a letter to a granting agency asking for money that would
fund continued ROV research.
Connection With your instructor's approval, write a science
fiction story about an ROV that uncovers the mythical kingdom
of Atlantis. Don't forget to describe the interaction among
the people who are at the controls of this submersible.
With your instructor's approval, work with classmates to create
a large mural that illustrates an undersea vent community.
To ensure accuracy, you'll need to use both print and Internet
resources to learn more about the structure of these deep
ocean communities. When the mural is complete, draw a sketch
that can be used as a key to identify each of the illustrated
With your instructor's approval, use the Internet to develop
a search strategy for uncovering the role of JASON Junior
(affectionately called "JJ") in the initial exploration of
the sunken ship Titanic. What key words would you use? Which
ones are most important? (JJ was a smaller version of the
famous ROV JASON. JJ was tethered to the piloted submersible
ALVIN. It was JJ that went into the Titanic and took the pictures
of the ship's interior)
This site offers many details about JASON, one of the best-known
ROVs in ocean research.
The basic construction of a submarine and its ballast tanks
are illustrated at this site.
Read this biography of William Beebe on The American Experience
activities in this guide were contributed by Michael DiSpezio,
a Massachusetts-based science writer and author of "Critical
Thinking Puzzles" and "Awesome Experiments in Light & Sound"
(Sterling Publishing Co., NY).
Academic Advisors for this Guide:
Corrine Lowen, Science Department, Wayland Public Schools,
Suzanne Panico, Science Department, Fenway High School, Boston,
Anne E. Jones, Science Department, Wayland Middle School,