Elementary Students Add Flying Drones to their Skill Sets

May 15, 2018 in Community

Fifth-grader Katie Wong has been flying fixed wing airplanes and learning the science behind it all school year.

Now, thanks to Boeing and its engineers, Wong and her classmates can add flying drones to their learning experience.

“This new activity is absolutely my favorite part of science class,” Wong said. “It gives me the chance to learn directions and how to read an aeronautical map.”

In 1998, Boeing engineers and retirees in Arizona wrote the curriculum and built simulators for 5th grade science classes on flight for the Mesa Public Schools Aeronautical Center of Exploration (ACE). The goal was to give students a hands-on experience of flight and introduce critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Approximately 8,000 students study flight and are immersed in the experiences at the center each school year. Over the years, Boeing updated the curriculum with simulated flight video experiences, and in 2018 added a new component: flying drones.

“The kids need this opportunity to get out of the classroom and experience flight first-hand,” said Diana Andresen, director of the Mesa Public Schools ACE. “And once again, Boeing came through to help us teach the students a new form of flight.”

The drone activity was developed by Boeing engineers David Miller and Jonathan Catlin.

“Boeing is committed to STEM education for K-12 students, and it shows in every investment we make,” said Mary Baldwin, Boeing Arizona Community Investor. “We develop tomorrow’s innovators by investing in STEM education and in the 21st century skills required in today’s modern workplace.”

Watch the video to learn more about this innovative new curriculum.