Project Description

Students design, build, and fly their own functioning quadcopter drones. They learn about the physics of flight and perform experiments to understand how flight is achieved. Students will customize drone frames and integrate electronics. They will learn and experiment with different components needed to get the drone airborne, including the flight-controller board, motors, gearing system, and propellers. Students will learn about flight dynamics such as yaw, roll, and pitch, by participating in drone games to develop their piloting skills.

Two boys working on flying a drone

Key Concepts

Newton’s Third Law and fundamentals of force, introduction to physics of flight, drone design, motors, propellers, and manipulation of speed for flight control.

Students Take Home

A custom drone, controller, battery, and battery charger.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) support for middle-school learners:

Performance Expectations Arrangement(s):

MS-PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

MS-PS4: Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-1: Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.

MS-PS2-2: Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

MS-PS2-4: Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.

MS-PS2-5: Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.

MS-PS3-1: Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.

MS-PS3-2: Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.