RSU’s AeroCats Team Provides STEM Learning Opportunities for Area Schools

Young men standing in gym with masks on.

Rogers State University’s Aerocats STEM Team is providing applied learning opportunities to area K-12 schools and clubs to promote STEM throughout northeast Oklahoma.

The 2020-2021 team is comprised of Bachelor of Technology seniors who are completing their degrees in cybersecurity, game development, software and multimedia development, and network administration. Under the direction of instructor R. Curtis Sparling, the Aerocats provided STEM applied learning opportunities to Adair High School students last month as part of their degree curriculum.

“We are excited to begin these curriculum-based instruction and demonstrations that culminate in hands on activities for prospective students. This is a tremendous opportunity for students to be introduced to technology that is shaping our future,” Sparling said. 

The RSU student team includes seniors Dathan Wade, from Claremore; Brennan Mobark, from Yukon; Joshua Rogers, from Edmond; Collin McHugh, from Edmond; and Tristan Wooten, from Chelsea.

The Aerocats provide two demonstrations: Foundations of Drones and Programming and the Foundations of Drone Flight and Safety.

“We can accommodate 4-12 grades and are in the process of generating grade specific curriculum, thus far, we have 9-12 ready for the Foundations of Drones and Programming and 5-8 and 9-12 for Foundations of Drone Flight and Safety,” Sparling said.

Whether learners are brand new to drones and coding, they are certain to be engaged in the Foundations of Drones and Programming STEM applied learning activity that includes fundamentals of programming and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones by creating autonomous flight. Students will become familiar with sensors, aerodynamics, logic control, remote controls and more. They will be exposed to text-based Python and see their lines of code make the drone come to life. This is a great way to learn Python in a fun way.

In the Foundations of Drone and Flight Safety demonstration, learners will be presented with a fundamental lesson on aeronautics, flight safety as well as live flight practice on a DJI Mavic Drone. This also includes a discussion of basics components of drones as well as initial set-up and flight walk thru. This is an outdoor STEM applied learning seminar that culminates in learners flying a drone through a six-part obstacle course. 

Each applied learning session is 45-60 minutes but can be catered to each learners’ specific needs. The RSU Aerocats bring all required technology with exception of PCs for programming. These can be inside or outside activities while adhering to strict COVID safety protocols.

The Federal Aviation Administration released the Aerospace Forecast Report for Fiscal Years 2017 to 2037 which projects sustained and continued growth in nearly every category. They further project the small model hobbyist Unmanned Aircraft Systems fleet to more than triple in size from an estimated 1.1 million vehicles at the end of 2016 to more than 3.5 million units by 2021.

The RSU technology and justice studies department built a mobile makerspace, which will be used for summer day camps. Dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

Rogers State University is a four-year regional university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Tracing its roots back to 1909, RSU celebrates 20 years as an accredited institution awarding bachelor’s degrees this year. RSU offers degree programs and options meeting the needs for Oklahoma’s top 10 fastest growing industries as identified by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

For more information about RSU’s technology and justice studies department or to schedule an Aerocats visit, contact Sparling at [email protected].

Students in classroom listening to speaker.