Page 16 - THE Journal, May/June 2018
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As a K–8 math supervisor in Jersey City Public Schools, Kimberly Crowley wanted to figure out how to use drones to make math engaging for her students. Armed with a conviction that she could succeed, she got the backing of an associate superintendent who found funding to kick off the program for her to do a research project. Crowley
held an information meeting and invited all of the schools in the district to send teachers who might be interested. This wasn’t going to be a mandated program, she insisted.
She shared her idea with the teachers in
a 30-minute presentation and asked for volunteers. Out of 50 people in attendance, while a few “rolled eyes,” another 24
e-mailed her as soon as she was done talking. They became her initial cohort.
All had committed to attending three days of professional development over the course of about three months (a day a month). The district purchased a single drone for each of the 14 schools, while she scrambled to find the money for some additional drones. And that was all it took, said Crowley. Now, out
of the group she initially started with, all continue with their drone usage and purchase new drones each year to continue the lessons.
As a shift to more student-oriented elective classes, Long Cane Middle School Principal Chip Giles’ district pursued an “Innovation Fund Tiny Grant” through a program run
by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The proposal: “We were
going to offer an entire course on drone technology.” Most schools, he pointed out, “offer a unit, not a whole course.” That grant, almost $9,000, purchased “a whole bunch of drones” and the materials to build a drone racing course.
With the help of Teacher Chris McCalla (@HeyMrMcCalla), the school got its drone
Jersey City Public Schools students work with drones indoors.
Troup County School System 1,040 students in grades 6-8
Technology: UDI U818A-HD drones ($55), QuadcopterFx simulator app ($5) for Apple and Google
Want lessons? Send Giles e-mail at
28,000 students in K-12
Technology: Parrot AR drones (no longer sold), DGI Phantom 4 Pro drone ($1,500)
Want lessons? Hit the “Lesson Plans” tab on
| MAY/JUNE 2018

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