As one can see, there was a definite growth that occurred amongst my students when comparing the pre- and post-test percentages. In addition, through observation and via PowerPoint presentations and EDP Google docs that were submitted, students ability to work in teams, collaborate, and communicate information grew, as well.
Due to many weather-related and timing issues, this unit did not go 100% as planned for the revision. I ended up flying the drone right outside my classroom instead of having someone come in or taking them out to the football field due to the weather. Students were still extremely engaged and were fascinated and curious about the drone and how it would play a role in the Geometry classroom. Upon finishing flying, we went back into the classroom and watched YouTube videos about Amazon and another company that utilizes drones for shipping. This led to great discussion about how shipping has changed, privacy with shipping, efficiency etc. Students were then given a Google form to fill out to brainstorm a possible challenge and essential question to answer based on the discussion we had that day and the current topic we had been learning in class – surface area. The following day, I showed students how they had all come up with a common theme of designing a package to ship on the drone and minimize the surface area.
With their idea, I had them discuss guiding questions. I first had them think of guiding questions independently, then, I had them add them to a google doc that was shared amongst their team members. As a result, students were able to discuss these questions in their groups prior to sharing out with the entire class. We then had a class discussion of various guiding questions and then students were set off to research about the Phantom 3 drone we were using and questions about shipping and packaging via drones. Students were also given a formal challenge introduction and rubric and were tasked to come up with at least two different-shaped designs to bring to class the following day (two per each team member). It was also required that they come to class with the surface areas calculated in their designs as well. This allowed for more math content to be practiced.
When they got to class the next day, the team members communicated what they had created and a final prototype was chosen and sketched. Students were then required to work together to determine which materials they wanted to use and the amount, while still adhering to the material constraints outlined in class. Once finalized, I approved the list and students began building. The building process was completed in two days.
Due to the weather, we could not go outside and fly their packages with the carnation inside across the football field, but instead, used the basketball court. I had another person come in (whom was better with the drone than I) to fly their final designs. This way, I could focus on the teams testing outcomes and fill in the rubric for each group as each team‘s package was flown. When teams were finished with their testing, I encouraged them to get on their Chromebook in the gym and begin filling in the refinement section of the engineering design process Google doc while the successes and shortcomings of their testing phase was fresh in their mind. Students finished this piece for homework, if needed. It was beneficial that this document was on a Google doc and could be accessed simultaneously by all while away from the classroom.
Spring break occurred at this point, upon arrival back to school 10 days later, students compiled a PowerPoint presentation with the original sketch, surface area calculation, testing successes and shortcomings, reflection and refinements, new sketch design and new surface area calculation. Due to time constraints, these presentations were simply shared with me and not presented to the class. This same day, students were able to take the Post-test.
Students have loved this project both years it has been completed. Using a drone in math is fascinating to them as many of them have not seen one in use so close to them before. When doing this again next year, I would like to redesign it to also incorporate volume to get more Geometry standards embedded within the project. Otherwise, I would not change a thing. I highly enjoy doing this project and have had so much success with it.