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Drones help make learning fun for Fayette County students

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Posted at 7:45 AM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 07:55:53-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The goal of every teacher is to keep their students engaged in the classroom.

A task that can be challenging.

What is the best way to keep kids focused on learning?

Make it fun.

Students at Leestown Middle School have the opportunity to take a STEM class where they use drones during the curriculum.

The latest lesson was a search and rescue scenario.

Kids had to scope out a “forest” mapped out in the class room, record coordinates and actually program directions for their drones to follow.

“We’re learning how to code on drone simulators. Mr. Sprinkle laid out tape for us to measure to find out our codes for the drones,” Jazaria Monet said.

“I think technology is cool. I like coding and building and stuff like that.”

The kids have access to a drone simulator program that allows them to manually put in block codes that transmit to their drones.

The goal was to make the drones do a complete route around the limit of the forest and get back to home base.

It’s an opportunity Geoffrey  Sprinkle, who teaches the classes, finds exciting and beneficial not just at Leestown but at schools across the district.

“The drones are great. Fayette County is doing it across the district. It’s called the exploring technology course. One of the big pushes was to use the drones to really get kids excited about coding,” Sprinkle said.

The students are certainly engaged.

Some of these 11-year-old students sound like engineers and pilots the way they talk about using the drones.

“The take off blocks are to make the drones first fly up and start the code. It’s flying out and turning so we can get this part since the base isn’t exactly on the edge,” Carson Fair said.

“I think it’s really fun because no other class does it.”

“You get to do a tone of stuff with drones. If you’re new to drones and you haven’t done anything before it’s really cool and it introduces you to coding and everything,” Enrico Zambon said.

Incorporating these drones has allowed Mr. Sprinkle to be a little more hands off as a teacher.

Rather than a day filled with lecture and trying to keep attention, he plays more of a facilitator role.

He provided feedback and tips but otherwise leaves his students to figure it out on their own, most of them enjoying the process.

It disguises learning through a fun activity.

“They’re using math and they don’t really realize they’re using math. They’re using science and they don’t know they’re using science,” Sprinkle said.

“It’s great to see kids highly engaged in something and they have an interest in it. It’s so nice to see kids in Fayette County be able to do that.”