Clear the Runway: NMSU Teaches Students about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math via Drones

November 7, 2016

Laguna Middle School Students learn about Stem through the FAA's COE for UAS Minority Outreach Program led by NMSU.
The school gym transformed into a hands-on learning center where student learned about the three different unmanned aerial systems, fixed wings, rotary wings, and multi-rotor. They took notes as presenters explained concepts of aerodynamics and the physics of flight. The day was hosted by, Henry Cathey, Deputy Director of the Physical Science Laboratory. He said, "The is about the future and seeing these young men and women working in technical fields and making the world a better place."

The presentation extended beyond the school gym; the students ventured outside where they were able to observe unmanned aircraft in action. Two lucky students from each grade level were selected to fly a few of the UAS. The excitement was rampant as small helicopters, gliders, and planes flew overhead. Next, the students went back inside, and for those that didn't get a chance to fly the aircraft, there was a second chance to practice on a computer controlled flight simulator station. There were several stations for hands-on learned including designated areas to build hoop gliders, paper plate airplanes, and paper rockets.

After creating them, they tested out the flight ability of their creations. Teacher, Kathy Stevenson, said, "This was phenomenal! The event was hands-on. Students were involved and learned so much.

This STEM UAS outreach program captured their interest and held it." One parent agreed and said, "This is a great experience for our kids."

The glow did not dissipate by afternoon; the students excitedly remarked that it was hard to pick a favorite event but most settled on the flight simulator. One student explained that he didn't know that the uses for unmanned aerial systems included safety exercises, delivering health kits and one-day delivering pizzas.

Elementary School Principal, Holly Gurule, remarked that the students loved the roadshow and that they great ambassadors for the school.

The Federal Aviation Administration sponsors the roadshow.

Story by Dana Martinez
Cibola Beacon News