Calling All Ocean Explorers!

Rutgers University is proud to announce the release of the 2022 4-H STEM Challenge – Explorers of the Deep

This STEM focused kit was developed by a team of educators and oceanographers in the Department of Marine Sciences and the Department of 4-H Youth Development.  The kit focuses on the mysteries and adventures of ocean exploration – with ocean robots!

Activities were designed to develop observational and critical thinking skills while exploring the interconnected nature between the ocean and humans, regardless of where they live. Kids learn foundational STEM skills while they wrestle with the same questions as today’s top oceanographers and scientists.  Activities can be done all at once or individually, making the kit a great resource for classrooms, afterschool programs, clubs, families and more.

Activities for Ocean Explorers

The Explorers of the Deep kit includes 3 core activities.  Here is what is inside:

Ocean Robot Test Tank
Get your ocean robot ready for a research mission! Youth learn how to “ballast” their ocean robot by adding weights to create the sinking and floating behavior of a real ocean robot.  Youth will join the Coastal Ocean Observing Leadership (COOL) team, to investigate data collected by ocean robots and learn about the value of ocean exploration.

Ocean Expedition
Playing an ocean-inspired board game, youth navigate their ocean robot around the world while learning key ocean concepts such as aquaculture, climate change, technological innovation, human impact and the ocean ecosystem.

Ocean Communicator
Youth investigate challenges that ocean scientists, engineers and technologists are currently exploring. Each challenge requires innovations and technical solutions that inspire public action.

Order your Explorers of the Deep Challenge Kit today!

You can find more information about the 2022 4-H STEM Challenge, including links to download both the Youth and Facilitator’s guides on the challenge website. The guides are available in both English and Spanish

You can find additional kit materials, t-shirts, hats and more on the 4-H Store. 

Ocean Robot Test Tank Videos

In the Ocean Robot Test Tank activity, participants can build their own ocean robot and experiment with how they fly.  The following videos feature Rutgers glider technicians Dave Aragon and Nicole Waite, as they welcome you to the mission and show you how our ocean robots fly.

Watch a short video to meet Rutgers glider pilots – Dave Aragon and Nicole Waite in the Coastal Ocean Observing Leadership (COOLroom) and join the research team!

Now it is time to learn about the mechanics of your ocean robot.  Watch this video to hear Dave and Nicole talk about the mechanics of the glider and how it works.

Get a closer view of the ocean robot “flying’ through the ocean water.  Watch this animation of the zig-zag pattern of an ocean robot.

Finally, it is time to ballast your ocean robot and prepare it for its mission.  Watch this video of Dave and Nicole walking you through the steps of figuring out the density of the glider as it descends and ascends in our test tank.

Ocean Expedition Augmented Reality

As part of the Ocean Expedition board game challenge, we worked with Thought Cafe to produce a series of augmented reality clips to, well, augment the game. 

Check out these links with your phone to watch the board game come to life!

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the Explorers of the Deep STEM Challenge, please reach out to us!
Janice McDonnell, 4-H Science Agent
Kasey Walsh, Research Assistant