Whirly Girls Drone Team
West Shore Jr./Sr. High School has formed a Drone Innovation Team comprised of eight girls in grades eight through 12 who are interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. The team will meet every Monday at 6:45 a.m. and every Thursday during Power Hour lunch throughout the school year. The purpose of this endeavor is to create an extracurricular opportunity in which these students will learn about basic aeronautical principles and drone design innovation. The content will challenge these students in mathematics and physics properties such as body design, speed, and aeronautical principles. They will be using a 3D printer to create different versions of the drones. The drones will be designed so that the students can control their maneuverability and speed. By researching what has previously been done, as well as trial and error, the students will determine optimal drone body designs. They will also evaluate both the speed and maneuverability of the drone. Students will then determine how to innovate the drone design and print their own parts using a 3D printer to improve the drone's performance.
In addition to the challenges associated with learning new software and how to fly the drones, the students will have many opportunities to troubleshoot problems they encounter on the team. The intent of this endeavor is that these Whirly Girls will share their knowledge and experience with future drone teams, thus creating a larger and self-sustainable program in the next several years.
Dr. Mark Mullins, Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools, and Ms. Tina Descovich, Brevard School Board Vice Chairman, recently made a visit to the West Shore media center to see the Whirly Girls Team in action. Superintendent Mullins joined in on the fun using the First Person View Goggles to visualize the drone flight. Michael Gruener from Aether Vision explained to the group that the pilot who is controlling the drone on the ground can use the goggles to see what the quadcopter is seeing which in turn makes it easier to avoid obstacles than flying line of sight.