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Grant gives students a bird's eye view
Sue Scott

Fourth grade students can hardly contain their excitement as the propellers begin to spin to slowly lift the drone quadcopter off the ground behind Burnett Creek Elementary School.

Prior to the flight, the students learned about many types of landforms all over the world. Teacher Brock Davis pilots the drone so students can get a look at the landforms around the school: “After using Google Maps to establish a frame of reference, we took the drone up to see these landforms and changes in the land since the last satellite image was taken.”

Student Claire Mathews thought the view from 300 feet above was amazing. “I saw a field of corn, the high school, a creek, woods and a pond,” says Claire. “The pond was not on Google maps, so that’s new.”

Classmate Doc Brettnacher says the recording from the drone helped them see how landforms and land uses have changed. “It helps us know where we are going and how to plan for the future,” says Doc.

The class will create a land use map of one square mile around Burnett Creek based on the drone footage and Google Maps.

The “Learning to Fly” project was funded by a Partners in Education grant from Evonik Corporation, Tippecanoe Laboratories. The activity covers topics like natural resources, formation of landforms, land use, map creation, locating coordinates, data collection, analysis, and reporting and using online and hands-on tools and technology.

Students watch as the drone lifts off
Teacher Brock Davis shows students the drone before flight