Sept. 25, 2018

More than 6,000 students, ranging from kindergarteners to seniors in high school, experienced hands-on learning activities related to STEM (science, technology, education, math) at the 2018 Reno Air Races, held Sept. 12-16. Nevada-based Global Robot and Drone Deployment (GRADD) and the Nevada Business Aviation Association (NVBAA) hosted the GRADD-NVBAA STEM Education Discovery Zone at the races for the fourth consecutive year.

The GRADD/NVBAA STEM Education Discovery Zone provided students with the opportunity to experiment with the Tesla coil and 3D printing, practice skills on flight simulators, learn about unmanned aircraft systems and operate the nearly 20 ground robots that were on display. Each student also received a 3D printed F-86 Sabre Jet.

“When a student sees what we do here, they can’t unsee it,” said Reza Karamooz, president of NVBAA and CEO of GRADD. “We plant a seed for that student to take back to their homes, friends and schools.”

Interns involved with GRADD-NVBAA-sponsored aviation, mathematics and robotics after-school clubs operated the STEM Education Discovery Zone and were also on hand to assist the visiting students. The projects on display were complex and meant to solve real-world problems while teaching critical thinking skills.

Student interns of the GRADD-NVBAA programs report being very well-prepared for collegiate-level STEM courses, and in some cases, they choose to remain part of the GRADD and NVBAA programs after high school graduation.

The GRADD-NVBAA STEM Education Discovery Zone isn’t just for students. In deciding which exhibits to take to the STEM Education Discovery Zone, Karamooz looks for exhibits that can be reproduced so educators and parents can use elements of a particular exhibit their own homes and schools.

Learn more about GRADD.

Learn more about the Nevada Business Aviation Association.