Thank you for your interest in Sea, Air and Land Challenge! We believe the mentor relationship with the team is critical to the learning process. This is often the first time students have engaged in complex engineering and fabrication. Thus, a dedicated mentor can add significant illumination on the process, and help ease some of the growing pains associated with experiencing the engineering process for the first time.
About the Challenge:
This high school initiative is an Office of Naval Research Sponsored program, in which teams of students learn the engineering process through the design of a system relevant to the Department of Defense. The students have twelve to sixteen weeks to work on their systems in the classroom. The systems are then used to compete in challenges that mimic missions encountered by the military, national security agencies and first responders. For detailed instructions and guidelines about the challenges offered, please refer to http://sites.psu.edu/seaairlandchallengesecure/.
Some Challenge teams will meet during school and Skype or teleconferencing may be necessary for you to communicate with the students if your employer does not allow time off for volunteer projects. Perhaps you only have one or two hours a month, no problem! Our teams appreciate any time you can give!
You will be a resource for questions and will provide feedback on plans / prototypes. The mentor is not to perform work, but should provide process and design suggestions if requested. Mentor objectives include the following:
• Guide through the Engineering Process
• Ensure technical approaches are valid
• Keep the team motivated and on schedule
• Review Preliminary Design Report (PDR) & provide feedback PRIOR to the team’s purchase of supplies
• Review Critical Design Report (CDR) & provide feedback
• Attend Challenge Day (optional)
As a mentor, it is important to realize that most educators are not engineers. It is your job to help the educator in this area. Collaborate with one another to achieve success in the classroom. This can be accomplished by reviewing the challenge guidelines and preparing lists of questions for the students prior to the first session. Have an idea of what you want each work session to look like prior to visiting the classroom.
The safety of all students is a priority for Penn State University. Please refer to our Student Protection Plan, which provides guidelines for mentor interactions and the clearances and background checks required to become a mentor.
This is not a competition based on winning. All of the teams are winners and this is about the journey, not the finish line! Teams are judged based upon the team’s innovation and use of the engineering design process in building a vehicle and its ability to maneuver through a designated unknown course.
To find a Challenge event near you contact headquarters at:
The Pennsylvania State University
222 Northpointe Blvd.
Freeport, PA 16229
- Kick Off Videos
- Review Survival Guide
- School Registration
- Team Recruiting
- Structure Teams
- Choose Challenges
- Team Fund-raising
- Research Mentors & Volunteers
- Student Registration (Click Here)
- Pre-Challenge Surveys (Click Here)
- STEM Premier Registration
- Review Student Protection Plan with Students
- Begin Designing
- Equipment Research
- Mentor and Volunteer Background Application Clearances Due
- Preliminary Design Review (PDR) due for Review
- Critical Design Review (CDR) OPTIONAL for Review
- Fabrication and Testing Phase
- Flight Certification Test
- Challenge Day
- Final Reports (Optional)
- Surveys (Required) for Educators, Students, Mentors
Challenge registration begins in September and runs through the Fall Semester. Teams work in December to develop their team strategies and begin designing in January. They have 12 to 16 weeks to build their systems.