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Wet and Wild

Open seas never stop luring adventurers and competitors. Just ask Abby Sunderland, 16, whose attempt to sail solo around the world was cut short by gale-force winds. Or the U.S. America's Cup team, which borrowed from aeronautical engineering to design a faster racing yacht. Challenges abound below the surface too, as the participants in our feature story on the Sea Perch program discovered.

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High school math students learn how the shape of sails affects the movement of sailboats before applying the Pythagorean Theorem to their own sail design. Plunging into underwater experiments, students in grades 5-8 run tests of submarine buoyancy and submersion, while those in grades 7-12 explore the use of ballasts on submarines.

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A simulated shipwreck tested the talents of students from four Boston-area schools, who built remotely operated underwater vehicles to check for leaks of hazardous cargo and salvage the wreck.

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Middle school students in McLean, Va., took up a challenge to take a snapshot of the Earth's curvature without spending more than $200. They pulled it off, using a cooler, camera, weather balloon, GPS cellphone -- and all their math ability.

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Robotic Surf Safety

Struggling swimmers gain help this summer from EMILY,
a robotic buoy equipped with a sonar device and an electric high-speed propeller that can speed it to drowning victims six times faster than a human lifeguard. Read about this engineering marvel on the eGFI students blog.

Discussion questions: What are the advantages of a robotic lifeguard? How are humans better?

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