- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) - A fleet of tiny aircraft, flying in all directions and bouncing off desks, walls and light fixtures, filled classrooms at Center Elementary School on Oct. 5.

The planes were part of a 4-H National Youth Science Day lesson taught by 4-H Youth Educator Jackie de Batista, who visited second- and fourth-grade classes. De Batista talked to students about drone technology, focusing on rotary-winged and fixed-wing drones.

Students made their own “drones” out of Styrofoam and were taught about what makes them fly - thrust and lift. De Batista started with a demonstration and then let the kids test their creations.

The students are growing up at a time when drone usage is booming, de Batista said. She cited Amazon’s desire to ship products via drone and Chipotle testing the market for burrito delivery as examples of the potential for drone use.

“Drone technology is becoming more and more mainstream,” she said. “Suddenly, it’s becoming more and more applicable to everyday people.”

The lesson, she added, could spark a child’s imagination and inspire them to pursue a career that includes drones.

“They’re going to become pretty common things that people own and use on an everyday basis,” she said.

Second-grade teacher Gzime Yoder said the special lesson gave her students a hands-on experience with aircraft.

“I think it makes it more real to them because they actually get to make something and apply it to learning about flight,” Yoder said.

Fourth-grade students also learned the basic principles of coding in order to make the drone travel to specific destinations. The class was developed by Cornell University and will be taught to about 200,000 students around the country this month, de Batista said.

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Source: The (Freeport) Journal-Standard, https://bit.ly/2dlP9hQ

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Information from: The Journal-Standard, https://www.journalstandard.com/jshome.taf

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