Fathom Spotlight - USS Silversides

Last Saturday, I traveled up the coast of Lake Michigan to the USS Silversides Submarine museum, resting place of one of the most successful World War II American submarines. The museum, located on the scenic shores of the Muskegon Channel, is dedicated to educating the public about submarines from both historical and technical perspectives. Their director of STEM education, Scott Hardin, runs an underwater ROV summer camp which allows students to build their own submarine-like ROVs from PVC pipe and other hobbyist materials.

This summer, Fathom will partner with the museum to supplement their ROV-themed curricula. After constructing their own devices, the students will be able to use the Fathom One to explore the channel and photograph the USS Silversides submarine. Eventually, Scott hopes to offer more technical courses which would allow the students to design and 3D-print attachments and thrusters for the Fathom One.

The museum is also very involved with the Scouts of America and hosted an event this past Saturday, allowing the visiting boy scouts to earn their NOVA patch for completing exercises in science and engineering. I spoke to the assembled troop about the process of becoming an engineer, why technology is important, and the design process of creating the Fathom One. To illustrate, I divided the scouts into group and gave them finite resources with which to build a flotation device (aluminum foil, electrical tape, 6 popsicle sticks, and 4 drinking straws). To determine the winner, we loaded quarters onto each floating raft and the team whose raft held the most without sinking was declared winner. (They also got to keep the all the quarters their raft could hold, which turned out to be $25.00 worth -- a bit more than I had expected to give up!)

Everyone at Fathom is looking forward to our partnership with the USS Silversides Museum. We very much value their commitment to STEM education and inspiring young people. Thank you again to the USS Silversides community for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your mission!

You can learn more about the museum and their mission at: silversidesmuseum.org


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