Berrien RESA is excited to bring drones to your classroom! Through the generosity of the Bosch Corporation, and their partnership with Cornerstone Alliance, we were able to purchase 35 FlyBrix Lego drone kits. Ten of the kits are RC controlled while the other 25 are controlled via a bluetooth connection to an app enabled device. The FlyBrix app is free!
On Monday, November 21 we were invited to Upton Middle School. We were able to work with 20 6-8 graders in one 40 minute block of time. Most students worked with a partner, but there were some groups of three. This seemed to work well; any more than three means someone would not have their hands in on the building. We learned a lot and are ready for the next classroom. Below are our biggest takeaways.
1. Kids were super engaged throughout the building process. They picked which of the three FlyBrix designs they wanted to build and used flybrix.com/build for directions. Most were finished building within 15 minutes.
2. A typical classroom probably is not large enough for making this many drones at once. We were lucky to have a media center to work in. This went well as we all started at the tables and then spread throughout the space to fly.
3. These drones are not easy to fly for a novice ... but they are made of Legos, that means kids can fly, crash, and create! The students enjoyed getting them off the ground (most radio controlled groups were successful) and quickly learned that throttling up slowly allowed for much greater control.
4. The bluetooth connection process proved to be difficult with a group because each board emitted a signal of numbers and letters, but we did not see anywhere on the board that matched. Once more than one person was attempting to connect we had problems. This was a source of frustration for our students that had app-enabled drones and not radio controlled modules. So for next time ...
5. To make it easier to connect via bluetooth in the future we knew we had to develop an identifier. We brought them back and plugged them in one at a time. Each time we would write down the start of the code on the box for that drone. This should allow the students to identify which drone they are looking for when they go to connect.