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Innovative Minds at Work: Brownsville ISD Students Redefining the Future of Drones & Rovers

Brownsville ISD Migrant Education Program Students fly a drone through its target.

Photo by: Ramon Perez

Written by: Frida Ibarra

Amidst the buzzing sounds in the room, focused students' faces watched intently as they aimed for the target loop, knowing that one wrong move could jeopardize the drone's mission. With the guidance of College 1st mentors, each student had the chance to fly a drone through the hoop. Meanwhile, across the room, other students were busy assembling their rovers, preparing for an upcoming race competition. These hands-on activities are just a few examples of the new Drones & Rovers CAMP, an initiative developed by the College 1st Program in partnership with the Brownsville ISD Migrant Education Program.

This CAMP was designed to inform students about the technological advancements that are taking place in the world today. This ranges from military drone and rover operations that can transport equipment more effectively, to the day-to-day rover that cleans your floors. When students can understand the impact of these technologies on the world, they can think of more possibilities for the future.

“I want to be successful to make a difference in the world.” Juan Martinez, a Brownsville ISD Migrant Student, said.

Brownsville ISD Migrant Education Program Students gathered to watch their teams race their rovers.

Photo by: Ramon Perez

Students started by exploring the impact that robotics has and will continue to have in the future. Almost 3 million industrial robots are in use worldwide, and about 400,000 new robots will continue to enter the market each year. This can range from industrial robots that complete repetitive tasks to robots that assist doctors in medical procedures.

The rover was one of the most significant types of robots that students learned about. After learning that a rover can come in all shapes and sizes and can be used to collect data, transport people or items, and explore dangerous terrain, students used their creative skills to sketch a rover that could serve an existing industry. Some students created prototypes that served the military, while others created rovers that helped regular people. However, to fully immerse the students in the world of rovers and have them use their creative and critical thinking skills, they were tasked with constructing a fully functional rover to race against their peers with the materials provided.

Brownsville ISD Migrant Education Program Students are building a rover. Photo by: Ramon Perez

While the rovers were being built, different groups of students were being called to learn to fly a drone. This experience gave the students an idea of what to expect as drone technology advances. For example, right now, law enforcement is using drone technology to take video and audio that can be used to identify individuals. On the other hand, drones have also been heavily used in the film industry to take shots that standard equipment on the ground could not capture. Knowing this, the students created their drone invention. Some wanted to help the agricultural industry by using it to allow water crops or plant seeds. Others wanted their drones to deliver food or other necessities to everyday people.

Brownsville ISD Migrant Education Program Student sketching their drone invention. Photo by: Ramon Perez

In the end, not only were the students able to think about the future of technology. They could also look at different careers they could choose if they wanted to be a part of the innovation of these technologies in the future.

“I learned about drones and rovers. It was awesome. I can’t wait to do it again!” -Rafael Santa Ana, a Brownsville ISD Migrant Student, stated.

Brownsville ISD Migrant Education Program Students testing prototype rovers.

Photo by: Ramon Perez

For more information about the Brownsville ISD Migrant Education Program, please call them at 956-548-7919 or visit their website at College 1st is a joint initiative implemented in partnership with visionary leaders from school districts, education service centers, and post-secondary institutions across the State of Texas to empower students for college, career, and life success. For more details about the program, please visit our website at or call us at 1-877-499-8544.

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