Lincoln school wins national competition by creating drone to fight wildfires

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — A Lincoln school was awarded $12,000 after competing at a national competition.

Dawes Middle School is one of 50 winners of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, with one winner representing each state.

The competition has students in grades six through 12 explore how science, technology, engineering and math can help solve problems in their communities.

“Deforestation was pushed as an issue, especially here in Nebraska,” eighth grader Calvin Falldorf said. “I thought we should use a drone to do controlled burns, and then the project just took off from there.” 

They wanted to keep people and animals safe, along with decreasing property loss, when wildfires occur.  

The students designed a drone attaching a laser and sensors.  They worked for half a year on the design.  

“I was surprised we were able to beat schools with better equipment,” eighth grader Calder Hermsen said.

The team was recently able to work together with a Samsung mentor on its presentation.

“It’s really encouraging to see a group of young people work together and bring in a lot of different skills and knowledge from core classes from all the subject areas to come up with this prototype and idea in a national setting,” said Kristin Page, a skilled and technical science teacher at Dawes.

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