• Darshini Babu Ganesh

Teachers Take Flight Participants Start Building Drones

By Foxcroft School

Foxcroft School’s Physics Lab became a drone-building studio Monday afternoon when 10 participants in the second annual "Teachers Take Flight" workshop (TTF) opened kits containing everything they need to build their own quad- or hexa-copters, program them, and — hopefully — get them in the air by Thursday afternoon.

Teachers from such diverse institutions as Texas A&M University, W. T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, VA, and Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, FL all busied themselves trying to figure out what goes where, with just a little mentoring from high school interns. A student-faculty team from Foxcroft, a veteran grammar school teacher from Powhatan School (Boyce, VA), and two Montgomery (MD) College instructors, one of whom brought her 13-year-old daughter along, also participated.

The four-day workshop, presented in partnership with the Kashmir World Foundation (KWF), provides teachers with technical skills and curriculum models to engage students in STEM subjects using drones — and the hands-on approach is the centerpiece of the practicum. Learning how to use them to engage and inspire students to take on STEM challenges and stretch skills in those crucial fields is the other part.

On Monday, the participants — who teach everything from first grade science to graduate school technology management — heard about how KWF uses unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to help endangered species and how to integrate geospatial inquiry and data analysis through GIS from Foxcroft School Director of Educational Technology and AP Human Geography teacher Alex Northrup.