Students will test the ability of a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or "drone") to lift and carry a weight. The weight simulates a payload, such as sensors or supplies, transported by the UAV.
We recommend that students complete the Learn to Fly! UAV Flight School activity and the Learn to Fly! UAV First Flight activity as prerequisites to this activity. The Learn to Fly! Aerial Maneuvers with a UAV activity might also help student pilots hone their flying skills before attempting this activity.
This activity can serve as the first scientific, quantitative analysis of UAV performance after students have learned to fly UAVs with basic proficiency. This activity provides additional opportunities for students to gain more experience and hone their skills flying a UAV.
The initial concept for this activity was developed by members of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Education Committee, which focused their 2016 educational efforts on the use of UAVs in education.
Further development of this activity was conducted by Randy Russell as part of his work at the UCAR Center for Science Education as part of Engineering Experiences, a National Science Foundation-funded ITEST project (Award #1513102) with the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL). Engineering Experiences is designed to introduce and engage middle-school students to engineering during out-of-school time, and foster long-term interest and pathways into the field. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this activity are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
This activity is best suited for students in middle school or high school and can be adapted for upper elementary students.