Horizon students go outside to study drones

Students at Horizon Christian School tackled a topic that touches the lives of Columbia Gorge residents and beyond — unmanned aerial systems, more commonly known to many as drones.

The topic was the focus of this year’s May Term or “classroom without walls” in which students spent several days focusing on a relevant subject.

Students in grades 7-12 explored this issue from several angles in an active, hands-on way, including flight theory and engineering, uses of UASs, economic issues, computer programming, ethical issues, antennae, FAA implications, drone invasion: fact or fiction, and news surrounding UASs.

Guest speakers from Insitu, Cloud Cap Technology and Hood River Search & Rescue presented some topics and students toured Innovative Composite Engineering. Students also tried their hand at flying flybots.

The four-day study culminated in presentations by student “community groups,” including a civil liberties group, a law enforcement/search and rescue group and a Chamber of Commerce group.

Each student community group presented to a mock town hall panel their answer to the question, “Is it in the best interests of the citizens to allow unarmed drones to fly over civilian airspace in the interest of public safety purposes only?”

“Part of our program for secondary students is crafted to allow students to explore topics that relate to the greater world around them in a guided way and outside of a traditional classroom approach,” noted Supt. Ken Block. “We believe this contributes to a well-balanced education.”

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