Chartiers Valley Middle School students use drones to document construction project
Construction is underway at the Chartiers Valley (CV) High School and Middle School campus. And thanks to the work of Chartiers Valley Middle School students, the community can stay up-to-date on the construction progress – the students are using quad-copter drones to document the work. Each week a new video taken from the drone is posted to the CV construction website.
The drone program is an extension of the eighth grade Automation and Robotics course, which is taught by Mark McAleer and Chad Warren. In the class, students program robots to travel to locations around their classroom. They use various sensors (sonar, gyroscopes, bump switch and color sensors) to provide intelligent feedback for the robot to respond accordingly to make a successful trip around the classroom. Like the robots, the drones emphasis the algorithmic process. The main difference is that the drones challenge students to think beyond the XY axis. They have to factor in elevation (Z axis) as well. “As soon as students see the drones, they are interested and engaged,” said McAleer. “It’s really great. We want this course to be relevant and exciting for students.”
In addition to capturing student interest, McAleer and Warren hope this course, which is part of the Gateway To Technology program, exposes students to an variety of 21st-century career opportunities. “Every day people are discovering more uses for drones in the real world,” said McAleer. “Our students have the opportunity to come to class and learn how to do something that could be a possible career path for some of them. It’s great to be a part of that.”