I am passionate about integrating some of the innovative research we do at HPL with local schools. During my time at the Duke Marine Lab, I got trained through She Maps to run drone mapping workshops for middle school students. The workshops are designed to take students on a journey of a geospatial scientist and introduce concepts of remote sensing, drone technology, and coding.
Funded from a Chesapeake Bay Trust Environmental Education Mini Grant, I was able to purchase supplies and equipment to run my own drone mapping workshops. I partnered with the awesome education committee at ShoreRivers who bring local 9th graders to HPL for end of the year field trips. A total of 85 North Dorchester High school students travelled to the environmental education building on HPL’s campus and spent several hours learning drone technology. Students discovered how drones can be used for:
- Organ delivery
- Collecting whale snot
- Assessing agricultural crops
- Animal population monitoring
- And much more!
Students also learned about drone safety and FAA flying laws, using a safety checklist that one should always use when flying. Students were taught how to manually fly using flying controls: pitch, roll, throttle, yaw. We practiced drone operations during a fun and challenging game of Drone Simon Says. Students then learned how to code an autonomous flight to capture aerial images over enlarged maps of Cambridge Creek and North Dorchester High School. This information was used to identify physical, biological, and chemical threats to local water quality. This activity provided students a new perspective and technique for identifying key water quality issues which will be implemented in meaningful action projects.
Students gained valuable confidence in handling technology, inspiring them to pursue STEM education in the future. We have plans to run future workshops with Cambridge South High School students and at the Easton Library. Please reach out if you are interested in hosting a drone mapping workshop at your school, camp, or program!
This project was funded from CBT’s Maryland’s Protect the Chesapeake license plate program. To find out more about the Bay plate, you can visit http://www.bayplate.org