NSF Drone Research Experience for High School Teachers

What is the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Teachers (NSF RET)?

The NSF RET invites 10 Tulsa-area high school teachers to conduct research and curriculum development activities at the TU campus for six weeks during the summer. Teachers will work with TU faculty, industry mentors, graduate and undergraduate students from electrical, computer and mechanical engineering. The Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance will also facilitate 3 follow-up interactions a semester between teachers, mentors and STEM students, including an exciting quadcopter-based competition open to the teachers’ students.

Projects include pointing and tracking for mobile laser communication, remote sensing and monitoring, navigating 3D spaces, minimizing electromagnetic interference, and mechanical systems for securing payloads during transport. Throughout the projects, teachers and mentors will gain knowledge on quadcopters, solve technical challenges and develop engaging learning experiences and activities to bring back to their classrooms.

Participants will have access to the experience of TU faculty, including Assistant Professor Loyd Hook, Associate Professor Michael Keller, Hans S. Norberg Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Kaveh Ashenayi, and Professor Peter LoPresti, and industry mentors from NORDAM, an aerospace company with facilities in the Tulsa area.

Requirements and Benefits for Participating Teachers

  • Must be a certified high school teacher
  • must teach in Oklahoma for the duration of the program
  • Must be available for six weeks of the summer as well as several follow-up days throughout the school year

Participating teachers will earn the following benefits:

  • $8000 stipend
  • $2000 for their classrooms
  • Drones and classroom materials throughout the program
  • Access to TU faculty and students throughout the school year

Program Objectives

Objective 1: Develop teachers’ knowledge of the science, technology, engineering and math used in designing, building and flying quadcopters. Teachers will work with TU faculty, graduate students and industry mentors to conduct research that develops their knowledge of quadcopters and informs teachers of the integral role that STEM disciplines play in quadcopter operation and applications.

Objective 2: Develop and implement innovative curriculum by translating research experiences into classroom practices. TU faculty, graduate students and industry mentors will work with the teachers to develop a quadcopter based curriculum that best translates the research from the university laboratory into the secondary classroom while maintaining an emphasis on exploration and discovery.

Objective 3: Build long-term, sustainable relationships between TU, TRSA, and Tulsa area school districts to promote and provide support for advancing pre-college science and engineering education. Projects will include a series of follow-up activities during the academic year to support integration of the quadcopter curriculum elements into existing classes. The activities will provide opportunities for continued interaction between the teachers, mentors and student staff to continue curriculum development and expand related student activities, including a quadcopter-based competition.

Click here to find out how the activities in each project matches up with Oklahoma and national teaching standards for your classes.

Contact Information

For more information on the NSF drone research experience, contact Dr. Peter LoPresti at peter-lopresti@utulsa.edu.

globe with gold spokes and the letters NSF in front, the logo of the National Science Foundation

Funding provided by the National Science Foundation, NSF Award #180049.