For six weeks, West Philadelphia middle schoolers steer drones through spacious classrooms at Hamilton Elementary and the Penn Alexander School. The program is a partnership between Penn GSE and Drone Cadets, an education program accredited by STEM.org. There are landing pads, obstacle courses, and even “drone bowling,” which tasks pilots with ramming into rows of empty water bottles in an arrowhead formation.
The flying takes place in the afternoon during the Office of School and Community Engagement (OSCE) summer program, a partnership with Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Other kids spend the time slot with activities such as theater, art, and track and field.
The drone program received a $25,000 grant from the National Black Empowerment Council, and predominantly services Black students. “Proficiency in STEM is essential to one’s advancement, self-determination, and overall quality of life in our modern age,” says Darius Jones, founder and president of the council. “The science and technology train has long left the station. African American children cannot and will not be left behind.”
Read more at Penn GSE.