El Dorado middle school earns national recognition

EL DORADO, Ark. - 2018 February 12

Sixth-grader Kaliyah Ridgell says before learning how to code and use drones she stayed to herself most times.

"I'm really anti-social, and I pretty much talked to them all today when I usually don't really talk to anybody in this class, but yea, we've become really closer to each other," said Ridgell.

Stem, or science, technology, engineering, and math is one of Washington Middle School' s focuses.

From building robots to putting together computers, students are getting their minds into the techy side of things, and drones have been their latest project.

"It's pretty much easier to code them than control them because the controls don't do pretty much exact, but the coding, it's way better to use because it's like telling somebody blindfolded what to do. You have to tell them exactly what to do, or they won't do it," said Ridgell.

It's way more to it than just putting pieces together.

Students are learning life skills and changing and molding themselves right before their teacher's eyes.

"They are also learning different aspects of business because the students have to form their own business in order to promote the underwater robot," said Christina Turner, teacher. "They have to have a CEO; they have to have a COO. They have to do the research."

"The kids are having fun, the teachers are having fun, sometimes it's harder because it's different than what we're used to, but whenever we get into it and see the impact that it's having on the kids and the impact on us," said Chelsey Turner, Library Specialist."It gets us out of our seats and moving with our kids and figuring things out hands on."

And while students like Kaliyah learn to come out of their shells, they are learning while becoming the adults of our future one drone at a time.

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