Students learn to build, fly drones at Waco ISD school

Posted: 3:27 PM, Sep 21, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-22 02:52:45Z
Students learn to build, fly drones at Waco ISD school

Teachers at the ATLAS Academy at Tennyson Middle School are using drones in their lessons.

It's part of a 6-week mini-course focused on researching, building and flying drones.

Fifty students are part of the mini-course. 

ATLAS Academy got 32 drones over the summer after receiving grants from Waco ISD Education Foundation and the Region 12 Technology Foundation.

Assistant Principal at ATLAS Academy Matt Rambo said this course is promoting STEM education.

"The drone is science. It is STEM. It's real STEM," Rambo said.

ATLAS Academy provides gifted/talented students (GT students) accelerated learning and interesting field experiences. The mini-courses focuses on skills that prepare them for the real world.

This is the first year the drone mini-course has been offered at the school.

Students are using kits to build drones.

"It's really fun. It's like if it breaks you know how to fix it. You just get replacement parts," Sixth Grader Daniel Garner said.

Rambo said a few weeks ago students crashed one of the drones but they learned how to fix it.

"Several components on the drone broke and I told them I said you gotta fix it. That's what you have to do. And they did," Rambo said. "It's a big deal. You're authentically learning when you're able to learn from your mistakes but you're teaching yourself how these components work, how they interact, what I need to do to make it work again."

A few weeks later, students are flying the drone again, but very cautiously.

"The most important thing is discipline because they can go off course and crash," Eighth-grader Marvin Lozano said.

Students will have the option to take a level 2 drone mini-course after the current 6-week mini-course is over.

There are several other mini-courses available to students, too, including cooking, gardening, astronomy and several more.

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