Non-profit organization Learning Undefeated has partnered with Northrop Grumman to create a hands-on computational thinking activity for high school students focused on real-world environmental technology. Operation Polar Eye: Think Like a Drone is a new addition to Learning Undefeated’s Anywhere Labs digital learning portfolio, available at no cost teachers and students. The collaboration is based on cutting-edge Northrop Grumman drones that measure ice formations in the Arctic.
Operation Polar Eye: Think Like a Drone challenges student groups to create a process that maximizes the area surveyed by a drone; then follow another group’s process to calculate the area covered. Through this process, students gain an understanding of how computational thinking skills can be applied to a real-world problem-solving scenario. The activity highlights four key ideas in computational thinking: decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithm design.
“The Polar Eye activity allows students to experience STEM in a fun, hands-on way and apply their knowledge to solve problems affecting our planet,” said Jeanne McGuirk, Corporate Citizen Representative at Northrop Grumman Corporation. “By participating in fun, hands-on projects like this, we hope to inspire the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.”
Operation Polar Eye: Think Like a Drone is based on Northrop Grumman’s Wildlife Challenge competition, where engineers found a new way to map ice formations in the Arctic in hopes of tracking polar bear migration patterns without disturbing their natural habitat. Special #PolarEye drones built to withstand extreme winds and temperatures feature triple-redundant flight systems, real-time kinematics GPS receivers, sensor control computers, and thermal protection.
Operation Polar Eye: Think Like a Drone was custom-developed for the Fort Meade Alliance’s TechMania, an annual event designed to introduce high school students to defense-related jobs in Anne Arundel County and across Maryland. This is the second activity designed by Learning Undefeated to highlight work that Northrop Grumman is doing in the local community; Who Are My Friends?, a cybersecurity-focused activity, was released in 2019.