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Omro students design life-saving robot to measure ice thickness

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

OMRO, Wis. (WFRV) – “Being a small town in Omro, it’s a really cool experience for them,” Omro High School Science Teacher, Rob Turner says. “For me as a teacher, I’m all about giving the kids these experiences.”

The students at Omro High School were national winners in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. It’s an annual competition encouraged to boost interest in and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

Public school teachers, and students grades 6 – 12 are asked to come up with a problem (and solution) that can be solved using STEM in their local community.

The students at Omro High School set their sights on keeping people on the ice safe.

Ice fishing is a popular pastime in Wisconsin. According to Outdoor Magazine, over 230,000 snowmobiles use trails in Wisconsin that take riders over ice. Each year, nearly 8,000 people fall through the ice and drown.

To help solve this problem, the students built a robot that could traverse ice with a sensor to measure ice-thickness in real time. Information is then relayed through an app they called Stat-Ice.

Stat-Ice helps winter enthusiasts make educated decisions about going on the ice.

Placing in the contest has been something Turner and students have been pushing for. In the 2017-18 season, the district was named one of ten finalists for their solution to passively cool the High School without using expensive, energy-consuming appliances.

Omro’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction says, “I am proud of our students and staff; they collaborated to problem-solve… bringing in key components of STEM.” The robot the students designed has the potential to protect people in the community and beyond.

As a winner in the contest, the School District of Omro was awarded $100,000 in Samsung technology and supplies. The funds will be applied towards resources for a future Fabrication Lab which allows students of all levels to engage in creative, innovative, and relevant learning opportunities.

Take a look at the full process in the video below.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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