We’re having a DRONEday!

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“Best day EVER!” is easily the most repeated feedback I get at the end of a drone workshop and that’s not just from the children!
As a classroom teacher myself for over thirty years, I’ve always aimed to have every individual in the class engaged, challenged and focused on carrying out not only their own specific tasks, but also working effectively as part of a team.

The structure of a DRONEday workshop is quite simple:

Health and safety is the starting point where rules are discussed and explained.
The iPads and coding app are introduced and initial code written, then the drones introduced and basic challenge of estimating the necessary variables set.
Once familiar with the basics, new challenges are set with opportunities to extend the children further. There really is no limit to the level of challenge the groups can (and do) set themselves. This can be a real eye-opener for teachers; There are the obvious individuals who you know will want to set a high bar (based on their ability or because they love coding or indeed anything STEM-based), but in almost every class, there will be an individual or group that will really surprise you with their achievements.

How we deliver your DRONEday:

We require a large-ish indoor space in which we layout the flying zones (for the drones!) and safe zones where the children develop and trial their code. On arrival, it takes around an hour to risk assess and set up the space. If it is used for other activities during the day, we can largely work alongside them, but extra time may need to be factored in for this.
Five minutes is needed between workshops for clearing iPads and drone battery replacement/maintenance, but maximising coding and flying time for the children is the priority when planning. Every minute is valuable, as questioning, experimentation and learning grows exponentially as confidence builds. For KS2, an ideal workshop length is 75-90 minutes (longer for KS1 and slightly shorter for KS3).

What we cover in your DRONEday workshop:

Our workshops are great for covering these elements of the Computing (controlling devices )National Curriculum: that you don’t have the facilities or expertise in school to deliver yourself, or to consolidate learning in just about the most fun way possible!
The key points we cover are: algorithms, writing code (including developing and debugging), sequencing, variables, estimating and predicting. Alongside this the children are continually using numeracy whilst working as part of a team with elements of science also touched upon.

Feedback from a typical DRONEday:

“This was lead by Sue, who was very knowledgeable and friendly, allowing the children to have a safe hands-on experience coding and flying real life drones! The children were able to easily see their adaptations to the coding process through the success of their drone flying.
This session was full of practical elements that kept the children engaged for the whole time. The children came away “buzzing” with what they managed to achieve in such a short amount of time, this sparked a lot of inspiring conversation.

This is the style of drone the year 4’s were allowed to program and fly, the noise generated by the drones flipping and flying added to the excitement. When asked, the children expressed their joy and enthusiasm for this experience so we have already booked this again for next year!”
Loughton School, Milton Keynes (May 2022)

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