The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.2 million to Tuskegee, Ala.-based Tuskegee University to bring drone technology to high school students and their teachers during an annual summer program.
Spearheaded by the university’s computer science department, the project will engage 30 rising 10th and 11th grade students from Macon County and Montgomery public schools in drone-based activities, which will be offered during a four-week-long STEM Summer Academy, hosted by Tuskegee University.
The three-year Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers grant will also help six teachers from the participating schools take part in the academy each year. These teachers will design course modules based on their observation of academy activities and infuse them in their classrooms to teach high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts.
The 30 students will work collaboratively in clusters to forge potential solutions to real-world problems that affect the communities where they live. These problems will be identified from sectors such as agriculture, ecology, transportation and health.
Drones will be integrated as a means to collect data to inform the students’ investigations. Participants will also learn computer programming to fly the drones, as well as concepts such as speed, acceleration, slopes, angle of rotation and force. Moreover, they will learn about the engineering needed to produce a drone.
According to Tuskegee, all the program’s activities are designed to generate excitement among high school students to enroll in advanced math and science courses in high school, to orient them for studies in STEM areas in college and to pursue careers in the STEM-related workforce.
“Congratulations to our faculty for their exceptional work in securing this extraordinary award on behalf of our students,” states Dr. Brian L. Johnson, Tuskegee University president.