March 25, 2021 — 3 minutes
As drones are used more in the classroom, teachers are looking for new fun and creative STEM based ideas to engage their students. One question that comes up often is; What are some challenges or obstacles we can create for the drones? While there are great options for purchasing obstacle courses from the different sites online why not try creating and designing your own! Not only will building and designing the course be a STEM project alone for your students but it will create a new set of challenges. Fly the course manually or use DroneBlocks to create an autonomous mission to complete the course. Time your students and have them try to beat their own record on subsequent flights.
One of our favorite ideas for a DIY drone course is using hula hoops. Hula hoops are generally already available at most schools and if not can be purchased at a local store for relatively cheap. Using a small string and tape the hoops can be hung from the ceiling at different heights and distances to create a track. If you want to get fancy try throwing some LED lights on the outside of the rings.
Another inexpensive and fun way to create a drone course is to use pool noodles. The pool noodles are not only easy to work with but are also very drone-friendly. Being made out of soft foam is makes it the perfect material to prevent damages from drone crashes. For low flying ground, obstacles stick a yard stake in the ground and push one end of a pool noodle on it. Bend your pool noodle over to make a semi-circle and push another yard stake in the ground where the pool noodle ends. Push the other end of the noodle on the stake. Repeat this process until you have the desired number of arcs.
Using pool noodles, you can also try the “football toss” design. Start by placing a yard stake in the ground. Push a straight pool noodle onto the yard stake. Grab pool noodle rings and tape them to the top of the straight pool noodle with one underneath or next to the other. Where the circular pool noodles end, place another yard stake in the ground and push a straight pool noodle onto the yard stake. Tape the circular noodles onto the straight noodle.
A DIY favorite amongst drone racers is PVC pipes. Using PVC pipes will give you more flexibility when it comes to size and design. However, it will require some additional tools and a trip to your local hardware store for the pipes. Here is a great example of a free-standing drone gate available on Instructables from a fellow educator.
Transform traditional classrooms into future-ready learning hubs with DroneBlocks. Our comprehensive drone STEM curriculum, interactive apps, and kits are designed for students at all educational levels.