Over the past few months, students at Hawkesdale P12 College have had the opportunity to learn about unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) from Matthew and Michael Herbert and Dr Blake Allan from VUAS. Over three visits students from Foundation through to Year 12 Physics have learned about the materials that aircraft and batteries are constructed from, the science of flight and the current and future uses of drones in government, industry and recreation. Junior classes compared fixed wing and rotor drones and investigated the various materials that these aircraft are constructed from. This program has allowed Year 7 to 9 maths classes to measure and collect distance and time data to calculate speed and acceleration and compare the flight speed of different drones. Year 8 ICT students learned about the Civil Aviation Safety Authority rules and regulations for flying drones in Australia. Year 9/10 Programming students were challenged to write a code to collect and deliver a package between two specific GPS locations.
The school has applied to the federal government for a Digital Literacy grant which, if successful, will allow us to work more regularly with VUAS in future. The school is also offering to host a VUAS pilot course for students, parents and local community members who wish to learn to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle. Local farmers who wish to fly a drone to collect visual information about pest and disease infestations, monitor water troughs or stock movements can learn how to fly a drone safely during a half-day training course.