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Kenwood Middle students learn coding as drones take flight

April 7, 2021

Students at Kenwood Middle School are preparing for the future as they engage in hands-on STEM learning opportunities. Inside Chad Ward’s Computer Literacy classroom, students explore the world of computer coding, drones, and robotics.

“We’re shifting our Computer Literacy class to include coding,” said Mr. Ward. “We’re using drones to introduce block coding and rhythmic coding.”

Armed with a drone, a yardstick, and their laptop, students mapped out their drones’ expected flight pattern inside the classroom. Colored squares on the floor provide indicators for the students to predict and program the drone’s movement.

“It takes a lot of work. You have to try,” said Cam’ron Dowell, a student in Mr. Ward’s class. “It’s aggravating at first, but once you figure it out, it feels good.”

Each student was assigned a specific space within the room and would input code to tell their drone to fly from one square to another. When they’re even a few inches away, they go back and revise the code to try again. “Problem-solving is one of the biggest things they learn,” said Mr. Ward.

“I want other students to know the class is really fun,” said Joshua Robinson. “It’s really fun to figure things out.”

Mr. Ward was awarded a TVA Grant through the Clarksville Department of Electricity. Additional funding allows the class to grow and expand, introducing additional opportunities for students. “The grant will offer us the ability to purchase more equipment,” said Mr. Ward. He plans to purchase everything from replacement parts to additional drones so more students can participate. “It will allow us the ability to expand the program. It’s a really great opportunity for students. There are a lot of jobs available with coding, and this gives them an introduction to what is available for college and career.”