Getting Started with MATE
Building underwater robots is a fun and engaging way to teach applied math, science, engineering, and even entrepreneurial skills to students of all ages.
The MATE Center's suite of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) platforms and learning modules offer students at the elementary, middle, and high-school level the opportunity to progress from entry-level through advanced topics driven by their own desire to increase the capabilities of their robots.
Underwater robotics provide project based learning activities, and fulfill many of the criteria for Next Generation Science Standards. As you drill down through the MATE website you will discover a lot of great content, but where should you get started?
Building a robot is a fun project, but it is even more fun to have a goal to aim for. The MATE competition could be that goal. You can build an ROV to complete the MATE competition and try your ROV design against other teams in your area. Need a team mentor? MATE's regional coordinators can introduce you to resources in your area.
Not ready to tackle the full-on MATE Competition? Try the MATE Spanish Galleon Mission. It provides the background information, specifications and materials for the props so that you can run your own mini-competition at your facility.
Following the instructions to build an ROV is fine, but the overall goal is to learn and understand how and why an ROV works. More importantly, you want to have enough understanding of the ROV operation to know how to fix the ROV if it quits working. The MATE curriculum page has lessons on simple circuits, basic electricity, how a switch works, advancing beyond a simple switch, and much more. Teachers and instructors can use the various MATE lessons to develop their own classroom curriculum as needed. Need a teaching mentor? MATE's regional coordinators can help you connect with local teachers using MATE curriculum in their classroom or after school programs.
Is it a bit daunting to create an ROV from scratch? Don’t know parts and pieces you will need or where to get them? The MATE Center has ROV kits for purchase as well as loaner kits to try ROVs out. The kits include the control system components, tether, motors, propellers and power cords. Add on kits include camera waterproofing kits, hydraulic took kits and more. All kits come with instructions on how to assemble the components, including links to MATE lessons on the various systems.
Do you want some in-depth training in how to build an ROV kit? MATE offers multi-day workshops during the summer in Monterey, California. MATE also offers 1-day workshops at conferences and other locations.
To help prepare students to be competitive and prepared for employment upon graduation, the MATE Center has developed the At-Sea Technical Internship Program where interns work as marine technicians aboard sea-going research vessels.