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Teachers and librarians — Download this is column as a one page, easy to print PDF to send home.


WARNING — once you’ve flown a quadcopter (aka a drone) you won’t want to stop. Today’s “toy” drones are affordable and very easy to fly, thanks to some quickly evolving technologies like motion sensors, gyros and tiny batteries. The technology behind this marvelous toy didn’t happen by accident. Let’s learn more.

1. Who, When and Where was the Quadcopter invented?
In 1907, in France by two brothers, according to http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Breguet-Richet_Gyroplane. The Breguet Bros. worked with a professor (Richet) to make a working quadcopter that could lift a person off the ground, but was impossible to steer. The design was so clunky and dangerous that it was abandoned.

2. T/F All four rotors spin in the same direction.
Answer: False. The two front rotors spin in opposite directions, as do the two back rotors. To illustrate the point, watch the air around the rotors in this Wired magazine video, at bitly.com/2nQU0gE. Next, visit the Discovery Channel’s page dedicated to drones at bitly.com/2nFOoVX.

3. Can a quadcopter pick up a person?  Almost. The Breguet Brothers dream is coming true in the form of the Hoverbike. This could make getting to school a lot more fun. Have a look at http://www.hover-bike.com.

4. How long can a drone fly? Most professional drones can fly about 25 minutes, according to Drones Globe bitly.com/2nEMsLG

5. What are some tricks you can do with a drone?
Popular Mechanics has a list of the common tricks, at bitly.com/2nEWv3D

Application: Set up a drone flying station in your school or library

STEP 1: First get at least two cheap, easy to fly toy drones, like the Holy Stone or the Sky Viper. [Reminder, we do not use affiliate links, so we're not making any money if you choose to buy one of these drones].

They’ll cost about $40 each, and come with everything you’ll need. Let one charge, while the other one is being flown.

STEP 2: Create well marked take-off and landing spots, and find an open area.

STEP 3: Teach up and down. The most important skill is to learn how to kill the power (usually left thumb down).

STEP 4: Fly around! After they can hover and land, let them steer. This can be tricky and takes a lot of practice… but it’s very rewarding.

Select Videos About Quadcopters

Here’s a set of hand-picked videos that go along with this column http://bit.ly/lcdrones



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Filed in: Robots, Science, STEM, Technology, Toys

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