Queen Creek High School wins $5,000 grant from Arizona Diamondbacks

From left, sophomore Isaac Wisdom and senior Erick Angel. (Special to Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA by Queen Creek High School)

From left, sophomore Isaac Wisdom and senior Erick Angel. (Special to Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA by Queen Creek High School)

Queen Creek High School’s pre-engineering program recently won a $5,000 grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation as part of their “School Challenge” program.

Instructor Matt Chicci’s students were awarded one of 30 grants from more than 400 submissions from Arizona schools around the state, representing 11 counties and 47 cities, said a press release.

Queen Creek High School’s entry was in the “Innovation/Technology” category, and funds will be used to build a drone. QCHS will be honored and given a check on the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field this spring. Students, parents, teachers and staff will receive free tickets to attend the game at which this program is honored. The program is a partnership between the Diamondbacks and the University of Phoenix.

Senior Erick Angel, president of the Robotics Club at QCHS said, “It’s great that we are able to take this grant and move from creating and coding objects that roll on the floor to those that fly in the sky. We will be able to record football games and partner with film and TV to improve both of our programs. One day we can create an app to our school drone.”

Isaac Wisdom, sophomore student in pre-engineering and member of the Robotics Club said, “This grant will allow us to transition from pre-made parts that have finite options, to creating parts and objects that are truly unique. Our options are limitless.”

Mr. Chicci thanked QCUSD Administration, QCHS Principal Dr. Joseph Farnsworth and governing board members for their support of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Program at QCHS, saying, “Our district leaders support our STEAM initiative 100 percent, and I am honored to be teaching these bright young scholars the skills they will need in their college careers.”

Aerial robots, commonly called “drones” have captured the attention of many. Research suggests that drones have widespread use, ranging from delivering emergency supplies to capturing data during natural and man-made disasters, to providing photos for farmers. STEAM concepts will “nest” or build on each other as students construct the drone, starting with mathematical formulas, then delivering content about electricity and electric motors in lessons about battery chemistry and capacity.

The success of the drone project will fundamentally be measured both formally and informally by the STEAM program objectives, as well as the success of the drone flight. Students will be challenged by gathering survey data from the farming community which they will apply to suggest uses to benefit the community, i.e. providing high-resolution images of the ground for assessment of the land available for farming.

Arizona Department of Education standards will be adhered to, and Mr. Chicci will incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards developed by the National Research Council into the project, ensuring that students gain essential science literacy.

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