Written by UCF Sociology Undergraduate, Patricia Bencivenga

The Maps, Apps and Drones Tour had a fantastic time meeting with the Sunshine State Homeschoolers on March 30th, 2018 at the Cooper Memorial Library in Clermont. There were over twenty students of different ages participating, which made our trip even more fun. It was heartwarming to see older students engage and help younger students throughout the day. Each child brought their own unique ideas about the different uses and possibilities for drone use.

Peer-to-peer learning to work through the flight controls on the Parrot Mambo mini-drone to map the coastal model.

We reviewed the basics of what GIS allows scientists to do and research, and our students related the possibilities of drone use to their own lives. One student suggested using drone technology to analyze the environment of Everglades to help with conservation efforts because he enjoys fishing in the Everglades.

Reflection, what worked, what didn’t and what did we learn?

In this group of students, we had a few children that had previously flown drones with us during STEM day here at UCF, and it was so great to see their smiling faces again. After going over safety rules and instructions on how to control our Parrot Mambo Mini Drones, the Sunshine State Homeschoolers were ready to take on the role as pilots. Many of our participants had never flown a drone before, but we were very impressed with their flight skills since there were no crash landings all day.

Just a few of the awesome kids from the day’s event!

Our activities allowed students to learn hands-on and first-hand the importance of flight path mapping, data collection, and how to be a researcher in the field. After flying over pre-disaster and post-disaster flight zones, we reconvened as a group to review and reinforce what we learned that day. We’d like to thank everyone over at Sunshine State Homeschoolers for having us, especially their students because they push and inspire us to bring our love of drone technology everywhere we go.

Cooper Memorial Library was one of the many stops on the Maps, Apps, and Drones Tour scheduled this year. If you are interested in having the Citizen Science GIS team bring this fun and engaging curriculum to your school, please contact us! Email us at partner@citizensciencegis.org if you want your school to experience the fun and creativity!

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