Thursday, October 20, 2016

Drones in the Math Classroom

Drone, Quadrocopter, Aerial Photography  I own my own mini drone.  I haven't gotten to play with it as I need a nice open spot and I keep forgetting to take it out to the school gym when no one else is there.  So are there ways we can use it in a math class and enjoy making the math fun.  That is a big yes!

First of all, the owner of Ziplines just started a drone delivery service in Rwanda to get blood, plasma, and anticoagulants to remote hospitals. The cost is the same as if it were delivered by land but the time is cut down tremendously using this method of transport.  In addition, the costs are even less because the drone does not land but drops the material via parachute.

So what are some ways you could use a drone in your classroom.

Students can make their own version of the powers of 10 video where they start at ground level and then move out 10 times a distance.  The drones would allow them do do quite a few outward movements.

Drones could be used to to help illustrate the speed or rate times Time equals distance by conducting a series of experiments where students create a straight line of known distance and record the time it takes the drone to go that distance.  They can find the speed of different situations.

Another is to record distance of a path on a coordinate plane to find out if the hypotenuse is shorter than the two legs.  This is a way to show a practical application of Pythagorean theorem.

Check out this video on the Teaching Channel which talks about using a quadcopter as a way of showing sin, cosine, and the laws of sines and cosines.  It is a great video covering this material in a way I've never seen.  They look at the sine and cosine in terms of what happens to the rotors as it goes up, down, left, and right.

It discusses three different scenarios which use the drones placed in specific real life situations.   These scenarios require the use of law of sines and cosines in order to solve the problem.  It is great and specific enough anyone could use this type of project in their classes.

Students could use a drone with a camera to survey school property.  So students would need to know how the information from a drone is used so they could repeat the process.  Math is definitely used in surveying.

These are just a few ideas and I'm sure there are quite a few more out there. Now you have an excuse to use a drone in your classroom.  Go out and have fun.