The popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) as a fun, inexpensive (<$100), and easy to fly "toy" continues to grow yearly. Flying drones can also serve as a great entry point to stimulate curiosity and encourage students to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) investigations. Leveraging the popularity of recreational drones, the Education Committee at the Earth System Information Partners (ESIP) has worked with educators, researchers, and data scientists to develop a Drones for STEM initiative to inspire learners to use drones as a platform to collect and analyze local-scale data using lightweight cameras and/or sensors. In 2016, the initiative developed learning activity outlines and piloted the materials at an ESIP-sponsored teacher workshop and National Science Teacher Association sessions. After incorporating feedback from those sessions, ESIP collaborated with the UCAR Center for Science Education to publish finalized activities. Available on the UCAR SciEd website (SciEd.ucar.edu/engineering-activities), the activities encompass skills to measure drone payload, flight height, and velocity. Investigations also encourage the use of repeat photography, comparing images from drones and satellites, and creating 3D structure from motion (SfM) models from overlapping photographs. The site also offers general guidance to develop science projects or science fair investigations using Next Generation Science Standards science and engineering practices. To encourage the use of drones in STEM, UNAVCO and NOAA staff, sponsored by ESIP, led two hands-on workshops this summer; a three half-day workshop at the Earth Educator Rendezvous (EER) and a half-day session during the ESIP Educator Workshop. Participants practiced UAV flying skills, experimented with lightweight sensors, and learned about current drone-enhanced research projects. In small groups, they tested existing activities and designed student-focused investigations. Examples of projects include measuring aeromagnetics, developing 3D topographic models, creating vertical profiles over various land-surfaces at different temporal intervals, and developing a multi-semester drone-focused curriculum. This presentation will elaborate upon the workshops, learning materials, and insights.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2017
- 0805 Elementary and secondary education;
- 0815 Informal education;
- 0820 Curriculum and laboratory design;
- 0850 Geoscience education research;