Written by UCF Sociology Ph.D. student, Lain Graham, and Undergraduate Anthropology major Pahola Zamora


WALL-E  the robot in Mrs. Spain’s robot’s classroom listening to our presentation about maps, apps, and drones.

On Friday, February 2nd the maps, apps, and drones tour made their first stop of 2018, to Mrs. Spain’s robotics class at Indian Trails Middle School! About 180, 6th-8th graders were put in the pilot seat in our hands-on drone mapping activity. Students learned about drone technology, and they had to work through flight planning and logistics to collect optimal drone imagery.

Our team discussed the importance of drone imagery in social science and environmental research. Our drone mapping activity simulates one of many applications of drone technology, disaster management and recovery as students fly over pre-disaster scenes to collect baseline imagery. Students differentiated how drone and satellite imagery were used. Drones are used by researchers and first responders to acquire baseline data that can be critical for disaster planning, management, and recovery. After researchers from the University of Central Florida’s Citizen Science GIS and Open Reef Projects shared how they use drones to study coral reefs, mangroves, and other systems, students were able to take the controls into their own hands!

Image captured by a student during a flight over the model with the Parrot Mambo mini-drone.

This tour isn’t just a learning experience for the students and teachers on the tour, it is a learning experience for our UCF student team as well. Pahola Zamora is junior studying anthropology at UCF and this was her second Maps, Apps, and Drones event. In reflection from the day’s events, Pahola says, “It was great being able to teach Indian Trails Middle school students about GIS and Drone technology. This is a great age to mold minds, and I am sure we captivated students to pursue such career path in the future. Students were really intrigued by the lesson and simulation with drones, they taught each other how to navigate, and had many questions for us afterward. This is why we love what we do, being able to bring science and fun to a classroom!”

Video Caption: Check out Indian Trails Middle school’s recap of the drone mapping activity and their challenge to our colleagues in Australia.

Flying over Lego models of towns and countryside, students captured drone imagery from before and after a hypothetical natural disaster to learn more about how drones can be used in disaster preparation, management, and recovery.

In this drone mapping activity, students flew Parrot Mambo mini-drones over three models with a tablet controller, using the FreeFlight Mini app. As the students flew, they took pictures of the model below to simulate the nearly instantaneous documentation capabilities of a drone in an actual disaster.

Renewable energy Lego model built by Mrs. Spain’s robotics class.

If you are involved with a K-12 school in Central Florida, please consider contacting us to see if we can visit your school for this exciting, hands-on science and technology event.  Contact us at partner@citizensciencegis.org if you have questions or fill out a pre-registration form to schedule a visit. https://goo.gl/forms/HRuxpkKe48bmM9X53

#citizensciencegis #openreef #istem #ucf #ucfcos #ucfsociology #mapsappsdrones


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