Drone Races for National Science Week

Last Monday the 15th of August Gladstone school students gained valuable exposure to the potential coding and robotics thanks to a Drone Races project funded through the QGC Communities Fund.

The $41 278 grant was welcomed by CQUniveristy which enabled 66 students from 22 schools to attend the Drone Races event at the Gladstone Marina Campus for National Science Week. The theme for National Science Week  which runs from the 13th to the 21st of August is ‘Drones, Droids and Robots’.

CQUniversity Science Education specialist Dr Linda Pfeiffer said the Drone Races were relevant to students and teachers as part of the Advancing Queensland Agenda and the coding and robotics priority area. She said the drones will also be used during a ‘Science Education Experience’ professional development event for educators, scheduled for Saturday the 20th of August on Quoin Island.

For the Drone Races event on Monday, Dr Pfeiffer, Dr Ben Taylor and Ash Chowdhury worked with local science teachers and students.

“In the future, the drones will be available to all schools in the Gladstone region to borrow,” Dr Pfeiffer said

“STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is critical since over 75% of the fastest growing occupations require STEM skills and over 40% of current jobs will no longer exist in the future.”

Engineering academic Dr Ben Taylor says the event is designed to emulate operation of drones in agriculture.

“Participants experienced applied science first-hand in the fields of precision agriculture, mechatronics, electrical and mechanical engineering and aviation,” he said.

“The community will benefit by increasing the awareness of the use of drones in research,” he says.

“The school children who participated and their teachers will benefit from this project by increasing their engagement with drones and their practical applications locally.

“We hope that those who participated will have increased confidence and the outcomes of this project will benefit the wider education sector particularly in the STEM area.”