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January 2019

LMK 6th Graders’ Excitement Soars Over Drone Technology

The Louis M. Klein Middle School’s sixth grade students, under the direction of LMK Technology teacher John Bergen, have been engaging in the use of drones and the underlying technology.  The overall curriculum unit for the sixth graders is based on the use of drones during a “search and rescue”, however, the students must first become familiar with the equipment and apparatus as well as the coding program that allows the drones to operate.


As part of the science curriculum to incorporate 21st century technology, Harrison is intertwining engineering and design as well as the accompanying vocabulary into the learning.


“We want the students to learn how to maneuver the drones by asking them to perform the tasks of taking off, hovering, moving from side to side and forward and backward, flipping over, and of course landing…safely,” said Mr. Bergen.


The students are able to operate them by writing simple coding language to command the drone – to begin is the first code, to fly up is another code, to turn right yet another.  If the code is incorrect, the drone will either not execute the intended command or the command might actually send the apparatus in a different direction.


The students spent the beginning of the unit researching the code program called Tynker, and learned how to develop a strategy for how they wanted their drones to move.


Later in the year, the students will take their knowledge of how the drones work and apply them to a simulated “search and rescue” operation.  The initial idea is to stack boxes in interesting angles and try to fly the drones into them or under them as if they are trying to find people who may be trapped as a result of an earthquake.


It has been said that 65% of the jobs elementary and middle school students will be in as adults are in industries and technologies that haven’t even been created yet.  Mr. Bergen spoke of the real world applications that drones are currently using in many industries.


“I have done home inspections where we would have to climb up a ladder to the roof to inspect the chimney or slide into a cramped cross space or basement.  Now with drones, we have the ability to fly them into these areas,” he said.


He also spoke about how drones are being used in the construction of high rise buildings and bridges – allowing them to fly into and around areas that are perilous for humans to inspect.  The New York City Police Department recently announced that they will be using drones to enhance their security efforts in high traffic areas such as Times Square.