Drones for Schools Program

The Drones for Schools program resembles a nesting doll for concepts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A drone is a complex machine, and once you peek inside, one STEM concept leads to another.

To design the aircraft, you begin with concepts like Bernoulli’s principle, which when applied through a mathematical formula, determines parameters such as stall speed (how slow the plane can fly before falling out of the sky). Stall speed dictates the power you need to fly, which opens an opportunity to deliver content about electricity and electric motors. And delivering content about electricity and electric motors segues nicely into lessons about battery chemistry and capacity. There are material stiffness vs. weight vs. size issues. All the while, students are applying this content knowledge as they make key decisions about how this aircraft will be designed and deployed.

The individual lessons are valuable on their own, but the program’s biggest gains come from students assuming the roles of engineers. This program was designed in part to meet the demands of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS),