2015 SeaPerch Competition

For the past three years, Glenn Heck, the Head of the DVFS Science Department, has been Advisor to a group of 10-12th graders in the regional SeaPerch STEM competition.

On April 25, at Drexel University, the DVFS Dragon Dynamix team competed against forty-one high school teams in the Philadelphia region using their Sea Dragon III in the pool to run a maze of obstacles and to solve a complex “search and rescue” mission. The team also was required to defend their research, experimentation, and engineering process answering questions in front of a jury of naval engineers. This presentation included a design notebook, poster, computer displays, CAD drawings, and photographs documenting our process and convincing the judges that our Sea Dragon III is the ROV the Navy wants to “purchase.”



In our heat in the pool, Jeremy McCourry ’15 and Adrianna Mowrer ‘17, came in 3rd place running the maze and 1st place in the search and rescue mission (the only team to complete the challenge).

In the presentation in front of the judges, Derek Copeland ’16, Isaac Fozard ’16, Hannah Peackock ’16, and Avi Ferleger ’17 earned 99 points out of 100 and took home a 3rd place trophy for the team.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is a national educational initiative with the goal of interesting students in pursuing careers in these fields. In SeaPerch, students work as a “company” to design an underwater search and rescue, remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

This year DVFS has moved SeaPerch from an after school club into the regular science curriculum. Beginning in September, students worked as a team to

  • Science: study concepts of buoyancy, center of mass, center of gravity, forces, electronics and electric motors
  • Technology: create electronic circuits to operate their ROV and to give it “ears.”
  • Engineering: design, test, and build their ROV to meet strict constraints of materials and budget while solving a search and rescue challenge.
  • Math: study trigonometry, algebra, and vectors to solve naval engineering problems.

An important aspect of engineering is the communication of the team’s process. Throughout the year, students develop a Design Notebook, detailing their progress. The 20 page notebook includes experiments carried out, research completed, prototypes considered and tested, data graphs and charts, a short story describing a naval scenario, and minutes of each meeting. This year's Design Notebook was submitted to the judges on April 3rd.



The integration of disciplines is a major the goal of the STEM initiative. SeaPerch at DVFS is an exciting, demanding introduction for students into the real world of design.

The 2015 Dragon Dynamix team includes Derek Copeland ‘16, Alec DellaDonna ‘15, Jeremy McCourry ‘15, Avi Ferleger ‘17, Isaac Fozard ‘16, Adrianna Mowrer ’17, and Hanna Peacock ‘16. Seniors Aidan Friel-Shipway and Miranda Klimas contributed CAD support and proofreading, and parent, Bob Klimas (Miranda ’15) was our naval engineering mentor.

Inside The Classroom

See more Inside the Classroom Features:


The video presentation that the team shared at gathering, showing the entire process of developing the Sea Dragon from beginning to end:

Some more photos from the research and development stages of building the Sea Dragon:

Delaware Valley Friends School is a national leader in educating students (6th - 12th grades) with language-based learning differences and the only IMSLEC (International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council) accredited school-based program in Pennsylvania. DVFS offers a rigorous and comprehensive research-based college preparatory curriculum, expert individualized instruction,
leading-edge assistive technology, and an emphasis on self-advocacy within a nurturing and supportive community based on Quaker values.
DVFS is proud of its students in action, who are taking their skills and dedication to their community into the world in meaningful ways.


Delaware Valley Friends School
19 E. Central Avenue, Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301
Phone: 610.640.4150

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