Within the confines of the Admiral Farragut Academy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) lab, a group of students are dedicated to mastering the aforementioned scientific principles as they contribute to the genius of technological advances. Since the middle of March, members of the Drone Club have been constructing drones from scratch as a part of “Drones, Lead the Way” project conceived by Upper School STEM director Rob Milliner, fully funded through the Rossignol Academic Chair in Science.
“What this project does is bridge all the aspects of STEM into one project by utilizing the specific components of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Milliner, who was inspired to apply for the grant after reading the Drones for Schools program in an article written by Matthew Schroyer for Education & DIY Opinions. “For instance, the construction of the drone gives students insight into how all the electronics work, what their functions are, and how they all work together in a system. From that, they are able to see first hand how the flight computer, the motors, the transmitters, the antennae, all have a specific function and there’s a science behind each of them. The students not only learn how each part works but how they work together as a system and it helps their mind connect a lot of dots in a mathematical sense. They essentially assume the roles of engineers.”
Working in teams of two, the students are tasked with building, programming, and operating their own UAV (Unmanned Aeronautical Vehicle), using skills they don’t normally utilize in the classroom like soldering and assembling electronics through prototyping by wiring a microcontroller to external LEDs.
“It’s given people with a certain skill set and interest a way to become fully engaged with after school activities,” said Kenny Stutts ‘16, who is the student director. “In addition, we’re able to provide video footage and photography of the campus and happenings.”