High school and middle school students from across northeastern Oklahoma competed at Rogers State University on Friday in a test of their engineering and drone-flying skills during the 7th annual Aero Games Powered by Google.
More than 100 students from 15 teams participated in the Aero Games challenge to build a flight-worthy drone and fly it through a complex obstacle course designed specifically for the event. The course included six components: Elevated Pass Thru; Vertical Slalom; Bullseye Landing and Vertical Takeoff; Three-Point 180-Degree Turn; Obstacle X-treme Wind Challenge; and a Top Cup Pyramid Finish. Googlers scored the competition using objective criteria such as time, speed, distance, and accuracy.
This is the 7th year that RSU has partnered with Google to host this STEM-based competition for area students. The obstacle course was designed by the RSU AeroCats Leadership Team, a group of RSU seniors who facilitated this year’s competition as part of their final capstone project under the direction of RSU faculty member Curtis Sparling.
In addition to the competition the event featured the Google Makers Tent including an educational demonstration of 3-D printing. Both the Aero Games and Maker Tent were free and open to the public.
“Each year, middle and high school students from across northeastern Oklahoma come together for the Aero Games, where they’re encouraged to celebrate their interest in STEM,” Andrew Silvestri, Google’s head of data center public policy and community development for Oklahoma, said. “The challenges are designed to help students learn STEM principles in a fun environment, ultimately fostering our next generation of talented STEM professionals.”
Since the opening of Google’s Oklahoma data center in 2011, it has awarded more than $2 million in grants related to STEM education in Oklahoma including funding laptop labs, robotics programs and STEM labs in all Mayes County schools.
In the middle school division, awards were presented to: Foyil Public Schools, first place; Cleora Public Schools, second place; and Bell Public School (Stilwell), third place. The school spirit award went to Owasso Public Schools, most creative award went to Bell Public School (Stilwell), and the best crash award going to Justus-Tiawah Public School.
In the high school division, awards were presented to: Stillwell Public Schools, first place; Welch Public Schools, second place; and Tulsa Learning Academy (Tulsa Public Schools), third place. The school spirit award went to Foyil Public Schools with the most creative and best crash awards going to Miami Public Schools.
The event was hosted by the Rogers State University School of Professional Studies and powered by Google. It was sponsored in part by RSUTV, MidAmerica Industrial Park, and the Unmanned Aerial Systems Cluster Initiative of Oklahoma and Kansas.