We are big supporters of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. So, when we were asked to suggest a school science project, we are happy to recommend making a drone as a science project. Yes, DIY drones with your kids or students – how FUN!
What makes a good school science project?
Children around age 10 or 11 have big developmental jump in testing skills of true or false. Movement and motor skills also improved rapidly during this age range.
The age groups for our science projects here range from 10 year-old to 14 year-old.
These projects teach concepts around projects, building/engineering, math/measuring, and the scientific method.
Our goal is to create a project which the child can use to prove something true or false, with measurable results. Safety is paramount. Blade guards or ducts for the drones should be considered for the younger kids age 10-11.
Project outline for this school science project
Here are our recommended project outlines for this school science project. An inexpensive tool to use for documentation is a composition book. If you have access to use any web-based applications to track the progress, it is even more efficient. Regardless of which tool (web-based or old-school note book), here are the outline steps:
- Making the drone: What tasks did the child do? Over what period of time? (Record detail in book)
- Observation phase: What measurable questions can you think of? For example, how much can it lift? How far can it go? How fast can it go? Find questions which can be proven true or false. This question becomes your postulate.
- Question phase: Select a question / postulate and work on it. Record question in book.
- Hypothesis phase: Find a way to test and measure your question / postulate. Record ideas.
- Experimentation phase: Perform tests.
- Results phase: Run tests and record results in book.
- Conclusion Documentation: Usually a Tri-fold poster is used to summarize the project and present it at the science fair.
- Prepare the Presentation: Most teachers require the student get in front of the class and make a presentation. Remember to prepare the presentation on 3 x 5 cards. The student should practice the presentation several times. If the teacher requires a certain length (like maybe 2 minutes) make sure that the presentation fits the teacher’s requirements.
Selection criteria for the drone science project
- Age of student
- Budget for the science project
- Time for the science project
- Drone features needed for the science project
Age of student:
Younger children generally don’t have the coordination to fly a drone until 9 or 10 years old. You should supervise children closely the first few times they pilot the drone. Later on they should be allowed to fly unsupervised, but according to rules. Some suggested rules for flying your drone:
- Only over open spaces.
- Not over people.
- Not near homes or over private property.
- Not near airport.
- Not near accidents or police activities.
Budget for the science project:
You should have a good idea about how much you will spend on the project. Depending on which drone you choose for the project, the estimated total budget ranges: $50 – $200.
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|Office Depot 72% Recycled Tri-Fold Corrugate...||21 Reviews||$12.68||View on Amazon|
|RadioShack DIY Build Your Own Drone Kit||4 Reviews||$39.00||View on Amazon|
Time for the science project:
You need to plan for how much time you expect the child to spend (by themselves) and how much of your time are you willing to put in to help the child. We suggest that the child will spend about 4 hours by themselves (not all at once), you will spend about 4 hours with them, too.
Drone features needed for the science project:
If you have selected a postulate requiring the drone to take pictures, you will need a camera on the drone. Other possible features: Drone which can be per-programmed to take a specified flight path. This will much more educational, but will increase the cost. We are not suggesting this type of project for grade school or middle school.
List of drones for the school science project
|SIMREX X101 DIY Drone Building Blocks RC...||5 Reviews||$149.99 $29.90||View on Amazon|
|GILOBABY STEM RC Toys DIY Mini Racing Drone...||97 Reviews||$32.99||View on Amazon|
|REMOKING R605 RC STEM DIY Drone Toys Mini...||32 Reviews||$27.99||View on Amazon|
|RadioShack DIY Build Your Own Drone Kit||4 Reviews||$39.00||View on Amazon|
|FlyBrix Electronic Quadcopter Drone Starter...||2 Reviews||$129.99||View on Amazon|
|Robolink CoDrone Lite - Programmable and...||7 Reviews||$119.99||View on Amazon|
Simrex x101 DIY Drone Building Blocks:
- DIY Drone Building Blocks RC Quadcopter. Altitude Hold Function. You can release the...
- 360 Degree Flips & Rolls. One key 3D rolling special effects. Flip in 4-Ways...
- Headless Security Mode. When eyes can't identify the orientation of the drone, the...
- Equipped with the latest 6-axis Gyro flight control systems, small and portable,...
- Age 10 for close supervision.
- Age 14 and up for flying it on their own. The propeller blade goes fast and while maybe it won’t cut, it will hurt.
- As with all drone related Science project, children should learn about what keeps it up. It would also be good if they can learn about velocity vectors.
- One of the reasons that schools assign science projects is to encourage parents to work with their children to follow instructions, test as much as possible at each step.
- This is a small quadcopter. It can’t carry much weight or stay up very long. It can fit into other Lego projects. (Also can’t do much damage when it hits things.)
- Small project, (takes less than an hour to assemble), learn about quadcopters, include in a larger Lego projects.
- Lego compatible.
GILOBABY STEM DIY Mini Racing Drone :
- 6-axis gyro quad-rotorcraft flight, strong stability,can easily implement various...
- Headless mode makes easier flight: once the fuselage direction can not be recognized,...
- GREAT FOR STEM TEACHING CURRICULUM: Our DIY drone kit helps teach and encourage kids...
- FLEXIBLE CONTROL MOVEMENT --- Maxxrace Racing DIY Drone Have a 360° all angle...
- Age 10 for close supervision.
- Age 14 and up unsupervised.
- Can learn what makes it fly and the physics of flight.
- Gives children the satisfaction of making it themselves.
- This quadcopter is small and lightweight. It can’t carry much weight or fly very far or damage things that it his.
- Good for learning about flight or testing small hypothesizes. For example: how much can it lift or how far can it fly?
REMOKING R605 RC DIY Drone:
- 6-AXIS GYRO QUAD-ROTORCRAFT FLIGHT---strong stability,can easily implement various...
- ONE BUTTON TO TAKE OFF/LAND---Press one of the buttons on the remote to achieve...
- GREAT FOR STEM TEACHING CURRICULUM---Our DIY drone kit helps teach and encourage kids...
- FLEXIBLE CONTROL MOVEMENT--- FY605 Racing DIY Drone 4 channel design, ranging from...
- Suitable for age 8-12 year-old.
- This R605 has LED light to simulate air battles.
- Headless mode is available to fly sideways.
- It handles 3D rolls.
- It has altitude hold which gives the ability to stop the quadcopter, but not land it.
- It has one button take-off and landing function.
Radio Shack DIY Build Your Own Drone :
- DIY Hobby Grade Drone.
- Hands on learning kit in how to solder; soldering iron and solder not included.
- Fully functioning drone.
- For ages 14+
- Age: 10 – 14 and up. The younger child requires more supervision.
- Good learning tool for learning about flight. Less than an hour to assemble.
- Radio Shack has a lot of experience selling to the Do It Yourself crowd. This kit is well designed for that purpose.
- This is a small quadcopter, but you can test some more complicated hypothesizes.
- A good tool for learning about quadcopters and helping a child to develop eye-hand co-ordination.
FlyBrix Electronic Quadcopter Drone Starter Kit :
- Design, build and fly your own creations
- Crash-friendly and rebuildable for endless experimentation
- Small and light for indoor flying
- STEM learning tool - 15 minutes box-to-flight
- Age: from 10 year-old andup.
- Can learn about the physics of flight and weight vs. battery power.
- Great tool for learning how to build something, building and assembling something by hand.
- It can carry very small loads, fly short distances. It is a good learning tool.
- Less than an hour to assemble and fly.
Robolink CoDrone Programmable and Educational Drone Kit:
- Meet Lite. It's the same drone as our Pro version, just lighter. As in, without the...
- Lite is for younger audiences who want to learn foundational concepts behind coding,...
- Learn how to program your own custom flight patterns, the logic behind programming...
- Age: Any project that involves propellers and children under 14 should also have some close adult supervision.
- A good learning tool for learning about flight, propellers velocity and vectors. You can start learning about yaw, pitch and roll.
- Assembly is quick and easy.
- Has a programmable remote. You can program it to fly a specific flight path. This quadcopter comes without a camera, but the camera can be purchased separately (see below).
- This quadcopter is a great beginner drone for children to use in a science project or as a first hobby drone.
Congratulation – you have taken the first step to research and find an exciting science project for your kids or your students. Any of the above DIY drone projects will teach your kids the concepts around projects, building/engineering, math/measuring, and the scientific methods.
A quadcopter based science project help children learn about the science of flight, and provide them with a good starting point for STEM. The process of building a drone will help the child develop a skill in assembling thing which will be of value their entire life.
We hope you and your kids will have fun in making a drone in your school science project. Go STEM!
Additional reading resources:
The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate the School
- Judy Sierra
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
- Edition no. 1 (10/01/2006)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Grades 1-3. Girls reads about making slime. Does not read instructions, makes a big mess etc., Fun book, and teaches about following directions.
DIY Drones for the Evil Genius
- DIY Drones for the Evil Genius Design Build and Customize Your Own Drones
- Ian Cinnamon, Romi Kadri, Fitz Tepper
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education TAB
- Edition no. 1 (11/25/2016)
- Explanations and suggestions for the parent. Very helpful to the DIY Dad. Regard this as reference material for parents.
Making DIY Drone and Quadcopter Projects
- The Editors of Make:
- Publisher: Maker Media, Inc
- Edition no. 1 (05/05/2016)
- Paperback: 118 pages
- Suggested for 14 years old and up. Parents interested in teaching their children about how stuff works and how to DIY will love this book.
Science Teacher’s Activity a day
- Pam Walker, Elaine Wood
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass
- Edition no. 1 (10/05/2010)
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Several small science projects. This publication targets science teachers, but can be used at home (by parents) to help the kids get a better grasp on the principle involved in science.
Check out Drones for kids for more information on buying guide and check list.