SEDRO-WOOLLEY — At Sedro-Woolley High School, students are using a new tool to help them chart new territory, graph data and use math in the real world.

“It’s really cool stuff,” said science teacher Kathy Chace.

This year, the students in advanced algebra are using RubiQ drones to chart distance, speed and create graphs.

But first, they have to build them.

“It teaches us the individual parts of the drone and how they correlate in the big picture,” said junior Margot Perkes.

In small groups, the students, who are mostly juniors, must first assemble their drones before they can learn to fly them and collect the data they need for their algebra assignments.

The class, which is new to the school this year, is designed to be another section of the now-three part series of classes offered at the high school that incorporate STEM principles and the real world, said science teacher Jason Dilley, who is teaching the algebra class with Chace.

“We have a really strong belief that for many students math is better when it’s taught in context,” Dilley said. “We want to make as many career connections to what we’re doing.”

The students earn a career and technical education credit as well as a math credit, Dilley said.

The kits come with their own curriculum, but Dilley and Chace are supplementing that with their own lessons, Chace said.

“As far as we know, it’s the first time anyone has done this,” he said.

Once the drones are built, the students will have to learn how to fly them, Chace said.

“They have to understand what the motor’s doing and what they’re seeing,” she said.

The machines are equipped with video cameras, which will allow students to get aerial views, Chace said.

Using virtual reality goggles, the students will also be able to view the flight firsthand from the drone’s point of view.

“It’s more hands-on,” said junior Cameron Michelson.

After completing the class, the students may even be able to receive licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration, certifying them to fly the drones for purposes other than school, Chace said.

“It’s a big opportunity for students,” Dilley said.

An opportunity the teachers said may open students’ eyes to career opportunities.

“It’s a new technology that’s really popping up and there are so many commercial uses now,” said Perkes, who has experience with commercial purposes of drones because her father uses one at the golf course he owns, she said.

For other students, the class was an introduction to the technology.

“A lot of this is new for me,” said sophomore Mia Ellis. “It’s been hard, but it’s really interesting and it’s fun.”

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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