Flying High at CVTC

high schoolers get opportunity to build, code, and fly drones during CVTC camp

Alyssa Van Duyse / Chippewa Valley Technical College

CVTC’s Greenpower USA Team Building Summer Camp
High school students work with drones at Chippewa Valley Technical College;s Greenpower USA Team Building Summer Camp. (CVTC photo)

Izaiah Green was as still as a statue as he concentrated on the controller in his hand and the drone on the floor of one of the automotive bays at Chippewa Valley Technical College recently.

Even though Green was immersed in a timed competition, the mounting pressure wasn’t getting to him. The hard part was learning to communicate and collaborate with students he didn’t know for the common goal of building and coding the drones the day before.

Green, 14, who will be a freshman at Osseo-Fairchild High School, was one of the youngest participants during CVTC’s Greenpower USA Team Building Summer Camp. Greenpower USA is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program that provides students in grades four through 12 hands-on, project-based learning experiences. More than 10 high school students from Osseo-Fairchild, Augusta, and Mondovi built, programmed, and flew Airbit 2 drones during the camp coordinated by Joe Vydrzal, CVTC mechanical design instructor.

Vydrzal said the college received a grant to connect high school students with manufacturing education.

But the students got so much more. “I learned a little more about block coding, but the big thing was learning how to work together as a team,” Green said. “We were kind of split and not agreeing, but we weren’t all getting the right code. We had to come back together, start over and work together. Then we got it.”

Vydrzal said teamwork and communication are large parts of any manufacturing and design task. And although no student completed the drone obstacle course, they learned an incredible amount during the two-day camp.

“I’m really happy with the outcome,” Vydrzal said. “The students had fun. They got to see what CVTC is all about, and they learned a few things.”