COSAM News Articles 2018 August Drone Camp Provides Opportunities to Teach Students STEM Skills

Drone Camp Provides Opportunities to Teach Students STEM Skills

Published: 08/07/2018

By: Maria Gebhardt

Local students in grades 8 – 10 eagerly anticipate flying a drone in the COSAM Sciences Center Auditorium during the 2018 Drone Camp. 

Students learn about the basic principles of flight including terminology such as elevation, altitude, pitch, roll, and yaw.  Once they know the lingo, the students discuss safety rules and begin to program the drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that are piloted by remote control.

Tj Nguyen, assistant director of the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, says, “Students are learning to use evidence-based decision making that will help them understand how to apply data to solve problems.”

Not only do the students have to learn how to fly the drone, but they must complete unique missions.  Each participant aligns and docks their drone to a hook suspended in air similar to the International Space Station. “In multiple attempts, students learn that failure is part of learning and that they are finding a solution through developing their own critical thinking skills,” says Melvin Thompson, Jr. of Loachapoka High School, a multiple-year volunteer at Drone Camp.  

Students also gain experience with 3D printing by designing and printing modifications for their drone to enhance its capabilities.

The final day of camp concludes with an obstacle course designed by the camp participants.  They showcase what they have learned and how they can accomplish the goal while staying within the set parameters.

“I hope that this Drone Camp sparks genuine excitement for robotics and lifelong learning in each one of these students,” added Nguyen.  

Drone Camp is hosted by the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the AU Office of Professional & Continuing Education and housed in the COSAM Outreach Department. 

For more information about SCORE, visit

View photos from this year’s Drone Camp


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