Is drone building as cool as skateboarding? Probably not! But who says you can’t have both?
Some time ago I was introduced by a client to a group skateboarders called Solid Foundation.
This group provides a much-needed place for young people to hang out, skate, learn and support each other in a host of endeavors such as skating and art, all built around fostering positive role models. Solid Foundation isn’t just a place for skating, it’s also a please to learn, to teach life skills and support each other.
Solid Foundation wanted some video for promotional purposes and to provide some cool things for the kids to watch. But with the input of Roberto, the conversation quickly evolved into not only take video with a drone but into build the drone that would take video from the ground up! What better way to teach life skills than to include practical skills such as soldering, basic tool use and even some programming at a later date?
This weekend we embarked upon the first part of that mission, setting up a table at one of their biggest skate meets of the season and invited kids in to participate as much or as little as they wanted.
We had a fun time! Starting with talking to the kids about the basics of how drones work and relating it to things they can understand such as how the flight controller uses sensors just like the ones that measure movement in their phones. It was also a great opportunity to show that even very complicated problems can be solved by just breaking it down into manageable chunks.
Roberto is a natural at motivating kids of all ages.
It was such fun watching Roberto seamlessly switch motivation methods depending on the age of the kids. For young kids he had them making “jewelry” using the soldering iron to join together pieces of wire. For the older kids, he would challenge them. Did they know how to solder? Of course! Great…prove it!
Regardless of who he was dealing with his enthusiasm for even the most mundane task such as putting in the endless little screws needed to create a hex is infectious.
I was super impressed with the attitude the kids had. We would teach one of the kids how to solder and then have them teach the other kids what they had learned. At the end of it, I really think they impressed themselves and left with a little more confidence.
Making progress while teaching is always difficult and we didn’t manage to finish during the day. All of the solderings are complete and we have a frame that is ready for the final assembly. The flight controller has been programmed and the transmitter paired. The next session should see us reach the point of a machine that actually flies!