The school recruited experts from their local drone club to share their knowledge and experience.
“So they went through the history, types of drones, the basic introduction, parts on the drones, drone controls, and then went on to soldering and basic circuits and lighting LEDs,” maths and science teacher Chris Flynn recalls.
“And then they talked about the physics, you know, lift weight, thrust and drag and types of flight, how to use the controller to fly it.”
Drone whizzes Craig and Tristan, from Eastside FPV, also delved into details on batteries, voltage, motors and regulators.
“Then they started really getting into the soldering the motors and the regulators and looking at how the transmitter receiver works, and relating that back to cordless phones, mobile phones etcetera, and what bands they use, so that was interesting,” Flynn adds.
Once students had finished building their machine, they were able to fly it on the school oval.
While getting hands-on with exciting tech, students were also practising important STEM skills.
“…we’re linking the mathematics and the science into it, so, like, within the maths part of it you can link in tessellations, you can link in your geometry and space, your measurement, because they actu ally have to have fine accuracy,” Flynn explains.
“Percentages comes into it as well, so that’s what they were just learning now. “Viscosity with the science, different types of density of materials … I think it links in really well.”
Although it was only a five-week taster course, Flynn says results were quite remarkable.
“We did a pre-test at the start, to check on their knowledge, and then did a final post-test at the end to see what had happened.
“Some of the kids went from 15 per cent knowledge to 70 per cent of knowledge. So it’s a massive change to see what sort of impact drones had on them.”
Flynn says a lot of this is down to the fact students had the opportunity to build the machine, rather than just learn about it.
“To build their own drone, they really started to get an idea of how it’s actually put together and how it works,” he says.
The experimental unit is a part of a whole school push aimed at taking student engagement with technology to new heights.
“So in five weeks it was good, we’re hoping that this year we can run an elective and maybe put [it in] for a little bit longer or a different year level,” Flynn says.