READY TO COMPETE FOR A SPOT ON THE DRONE RACING TEAM?
Aviation, CTE, and Engaging the Community
Project Description: Last year, our Career and Technical Service Organization (CTSO) met, and the students chose to reach out to and engage the local community. Through this, they wanted to reach out to students in other schools to assess possible shared interest in racing drones. They raised some basic questions such as, “Is drone racing legal?”, “How does drone racing work?” We received a small grant to buy drones and racing gates, and twelve of our CTE students began training weekly, conducting time trials, repairing drones, flying with VR headsets, and planning for a racing event this school year. What was missing is the equipment and supplies to stand up a competitive drone racing team. We are starting to build, sustain, and deliver an educational drone team to the community for 1-2 years.
Outcomes: Our CTSO and our AFNR Program of Study have a four-year track record of increased student achievement and have created leadership opportunities, demonstrated significant increases in retention, and subsequently improved graduation rates. We have articulated with colleges and taken part in summer educational opportunities. AMA (the Academy of Model Aeronautics) sanctions our CTSO. AMA pioneered educational drones in 2016 and coordinated with MultiPG and Drones in Schools and is now offering a STEM curriculum in educational drone racing.
My experience over the years is that a drone is “the carrot” that lures youth into the elaborate world of aerial robotics (and other robotics and STEAM learning) by providing a robust and immersive learning experience that simultaneously builds connections to technology career pathways. The incentive of competitive drone racing (formalized into an educational drone racing team) exposes students to technology and hands-on problem-solving opportunities to design, build, modify, and rebuild—employing 21st-century skills and use of technology to meet the demands of today’s workforce.
We will be able to invite local middle school students to time trials locally; with an out-of-town middle school, we would connect via Zoom and on the VelociDrone Software. The option for both could be a field trip to Corvallis’s final event, hopefully with two other racing chapters there.