|These are the projects that the valuable and diverse projects Owen J. Roberts Education Foundation is supporting at OJR, in the classrooms and beyond!
CURRENT PROJECTS FOR 2017
DJI Phantom 2
Original Proposal Narrative:
This is a proposal to assist in the purchase an innovative package of hardware and software to enhance and expand the educational opportunities for students at Owen J Roberts High School. The Technology Education Department is requesting the purchase of a DJI Phantom 2 Pre-Assembled Bundle with Datalink, and Hero3+ Black from B&H Photo and Video. This grant will be applied to help offset the cost of this package. The DJI Phantom is a quadrotor remote controlled aircraft. This package includes the quadrotor, a 3 axis gimbal, and a GoPro Hero3+ camera as well as all the support software and equipment to control both the aircraft and the camera from a ground station. We have included detailed specifications and descriptions of the individual components included in the package attached on the following pages.
With this equipment the Technology Education Department intends to enhance and expand the activities conducted by the Video Production (VP) and Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) courses. Our projected timeline will begin when the equipment arrives to the high school. We anticipate that the equipment will be tested initially by members of the Technology Education Department. Students will then begin collaborative exercises with Video Production and CADD to determine:
• Flight Team, Video Team Responsibilities
• Quadrotor/Quadcopter Flight Capabilities
• Gimbal controls
• Safe and Ethical Use Practices
After developing these documents and activities we plan to begin using the quadrotor in Video Production and CADD classes during the school day.
One of the major benefits to the purchase of this equipment is that it will expose students to a cutting edge technology that is currently undergoing rapid development. The increasing availability of this technology has drawn attention to the rapid development of aerial videography, robotics, and UAV control. Just as digital photography has revolutionized the way media is presented, the ability to gather aerial video and still images is finding applications in a variety of fields including broadcasting, construction and inspection, and search and rescue operations just to name a few. This specific quadrotor package was designed to be very easy to use right out of the box. Much of the hardware and software comes preloaded on the quadrotor. Several of its features make it particularly useful for students. It has a GPS control which helps keep the vehicle stable in varied wind conditions and can also be utilized as a failsafe that returns the quad to its starting location in the event of signal loss or battery drain. There is also a video uplink and monitor which permits the flight team and the video team to see where the quad is and the video it is recording. A data package attached to this uplink allows flight data to be recorded in real time for both navigation and analysis later in the classroom.
All of these components and features can be utilized to directly relate back to current lessons and activities conducted in both CADD and Video Production. In addition to current curriculum links, we plan to create additional materials to specifically include this software/hardware package. We believe the aerial video capabilities of the quad will be of significant value to a variety of other clubs, sports, and school activities outside of the normal classroom as well.
Quadcopter Project Evaluation
We received the DJI Phantom 2 package from B&H Photography in the fall of 2014. The students and I were very anxious to get the equipment setup and running as soon as possible. I began the review of the equipment by testing the quad both indoors and outdoors. Outside, the GPS capability of the quad made it very easy to control in wide open spaces in relatively calm conditions. We experienced battery life and flight times of approximately 10-15 minutes depending on the wind conditions, outside temperature, and nature of the flight activities. High(er) wind speeds and aggressive flight maneuvers dramatically reduce the amount of flight time possible. We also noticed that in cold temperatures the quad had difficulty reestablishing GPS lock and full flight capabilities between battery changes meaning that we needed to come back inside and allow everything to warm back up before flying again.
Flying indoors is far more difficult than originally considered. Indoors, in areas like the gym, cafeteria, and the auditorium the quad doesn’t receive GPS signals and the craft has the tendency to drift in all directions. This means the operator is required to make constant course corrections to keep the quad from impacting walls and other objects.
The video quality recorded on the GoPro HERO 4 camera is outstanding. The original package from B&H included a HERO 3 camera, but by the time the mini-grant process was approved the company had switched over to the HERO 4. It was a welcome upgrade and has allowed us to record in much higher resolution with a greater set of options for video mode selection. The video files tend to be quite large (3-9 gigabytes). This is a slight problem when sharing videos, because it can be difficulty to send these video files via email. We have overcome this issue by using portable drives and flash drives to share video.
Even with careful testing we still had several “rough landings”. The Quadcopter and related equipment held up to student and staff use fairly well. With the assistance of the Video Production Club, Brian Sponagle and I purchased additional replacement cables, rotor blades, prop guards, and a back-up body for the Quadcopter with funds from the club account. We’ve encountered minor difficulties with the gimbal and some of the electrical connections, but all issues have been fixed without the need to send out the quad for repair.
I believe that the purchase of the equipment has satisfied the goals of the original proposal and has been a tremendous learning tool for the students and the staff. We have used the quad to record in a wide variety of environments under greatly varying conditions. Several students have developed lessons and materials related to testing and flying the quad. Discussions in class have helped to shape the scope and direction of activities planned for the future as well.
Pasted below is one of the activities designed by one of my students for the quad. It is just one of several assignments that students in CADD III and CADD IV have generated.
Test to be initiated by professor.
Criteria to be completed in order to achieve level one flight ability.
1. Start the quadcoptor by correctly pulling down and in on both joysticks. Also the student should make sure that he is in the correct flight mode, as prescribed by the teacher.
2. Show basic control by moving it in the directions provided by your teacher
(Right, left, front, back, up, down, rotate it and repeat).
3. Allow the student a moment to free fly and to become accustomed to the wind.
4. Instruct the student to, while staying in the center of the filed, fly the quadcoptor above the tack for an entire loop.
5. Instruct the student to return to the starting point and land safely.
I have several videos of the OJR campus that were recorded with the quad, but their file size is too large to share via email. I’ve been able to place them on portable flash drives to share with the video production classes. If you would like I can arrange to share those videos as well.
Overall, the quad has been an outstanding addition to our program of studies here at OJR. It has generated interest in the Technology Education courses and has allowed the students access to an emerging and exciting piece of equipment. I am very thankful that we have been provided the opportunity by the Education Foundation and District Administration to implement this equipment.
K'Nex Mini-Grant Evaluation
Thank you so much for the K’Nex materials I received through the OJR Education Foundation. The kids loved them and we were able to use them on many occasions. The various kits served as engaging STEM activities as part of the science curriculum and provided students with a multitude of building options during K’Nex club.
The DNA K’Nex kit was used as part of the 7th grade life science curriculum. First students used the kit to build a DNA model as we discussed the types of molecules that make up the DNA structure. We then used the additional pieces within the kit to visually demonstrate the process of DNA replication. These activities served the multiple intelligences of visual, spatial, and tactual learning. The emotional support class at the middle school borrowed the simple machines K’Nex kit to use while studying simple machines as part of their physical science unit.
The remaining kits were used by the K’Nex club as well as the STEM K’Nex competitors. The K’Nex club was held during the school day and consisted of 17 seventh and eighth grade students. They built everything from cars to catapults to various types of simple machines.
In December we began the STEM K’Nex competition with a total of four teams of four students. This year’s challenge was to build various structures that would move a ping pong ball a total of four feet. They had to include at least one motor in their structures. Teams had six weeks to work on their design before the ‘in-house’ competition at the middle school in February. Teachers and administrators from the middle school and high school served as judges to pick one team to move on to the Chester County regional competition. All teams did an outstanding job. Various designs included implementing multiple motors, catapults, inclined planes, dominos, and of course, many ping pong balls!
These wonderful activities would not have been possible without the funding from the OJR Education Foundation. It was wonderful to be able to open the STEM challenge up to more students as a result of having adequate K’Nex resources. Additionally, it gave students whom have never worked with K’Nex materials the opportunity to learn, engineer, and work with their peers. I was beyond thrilled, as were the students, to have the K’Nex resources to use in and out of the classroom. I am very excited to continue using these resources in the upcoming years for the STEM competition as well as a part of both the life science and physical science curriculums.
Additionally, some of the K’Nex kits were used to teach a STEM flex session in April to elementary and middle school teachers. The teachers were given a blueprint to build 2 different cars. They had to complete an experiment to find out which one traveled the farthest and then make adjustments to race against other teams for the ultimate K’Nex car. The teachers had a blast with this lab and were more competitive than the students!
Thank you again for your generous support. If you would like jpegs of any of these pictures to use as marketing or advertisements please do not hesitate to ask.
Have a good day,
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