How to make a drone light show with your students

Drone light shows are becoming more popular and offer a great career path for drone fans. And as it turns out, you could put on a drone light show in your own high school drone program.

That’s via the Drone Blocks light show drone kit, which costs about $7,500. Though that might be pricey for a high school to invest in, it’s reusable year after year. As long as your school can swallow the budget, this kit is the perfect way for STEM teachers and drone enthusiasts who want to create a drone light show. The kit includes everything you need to put on a successful show.

Just imagine the recognition a teacher would get for teaching students how to put on a drone light show and then actually making it happen. Consider it a guaranteed way to be named “Teacher of the Year.”

DroneBlocks light show kit: what’s included 

The DroneBlock drone light show kit comes with all the hardware and the proprietary software any STEM instructor needs to put on a successful mini drone light show.

The kit includes 10 swarm drones, 3 4-channel chargers, 30 batteries, 12 propeller sets, and a handful of repair tools (screwdrivers, propeller guards, etc.). The kits also include a base station setup including 5 tripods, 4 base stations, 1 relay station, and more.

The kit costs $7,495, which includes 10 drones. But of course, more drones make your shows more dynamic and interesting. You can buy your drones in increments of 10. A 20 drone kit costs $14,240 and a 70 drone kit costs $45,490. 

Unlike the impressive drone shows at Disney World, these drones are specifically designed for indoor use and engineered to perform in low-altitude light shows. While it’s technically possible to set up a drone light show outdoors, such as on a school’s football field, less-than-ideal weather conditions could jeopardize your event. (Any winds exceeding 7 mph can affect their flight paths).

To set up, place the base stations in the corners of the area. These stations triangulate the drones’ locations in real time, eliminating the need for GPS.

STEM educators should ensure they have a space large enough indoors to put on the show (and for an audience).

A High School Robotics Program Elective prepares for its drone light show in the gym. Photo Courtesy of DroneBlocks

How to put on a drone light show

Purchasing the kit grants you access to user-friendly software, a drone light show curriculum, and technical support from the DroneBlocks team. 

The included software features an intuitive interface, allowing future drone designers to visualize and edit drone formations in real time. With its drag-and-drop functionality, students can arrange the drones into intricate patterns and shapes.

Students can show off their artistic side as well, but creating fun drone designs and matching up the patterns to music. This is a fun and different way to add the A into STEAM. 

The software also includes a real-time simulation feature, enabling users to preview their shows before the actual performance. Additionally, a mini quick-start guide is available for all kit purchasers. The guide features two 10-15 minute videos: a 10-minute setup guide and an in-depth design module. After watching these setup videos, you’ll be ready to create endless drone light shows.

Who is DroneBlocks drone light show for?

If you run a small after-school STEM program and have access to funding or grant opportunities, the drone light show kit could be a solid choice. 

This kit is ideal for a fun, after-school project rather than a full-blown STEM curriculum. Note that it doesn’t include lesson plans or a structured curriculum. Lack of curriculum isn’t a bad thing though. Instead, classrooms are encouraged to lean into the creative aspects of editing and designing drone shows through the software. And for what it’s worth, DroneBlocks promises to be available with customer support for purchasers.

Still note, this isn’t for a teacher seeking a cookie-cutter project where they can kick back and let the students go. Consider this more well-suited for a small group of high-achieving students, such as those enrolled in a STEM-focused after-school program.

Classrooms with a robust budget

Starting at $7,500, the drone light show kit is a significant investment and may not be suitable for every educator. The kit doesn’t include lesson plans, a scope and sequence, or a structured curriculum. Given that, it’s generally better for a small number of students in specialized programs.

If you’re looking to start a STEM program, the drone light show kit might not be the best option. Instead, consider purchasing a single educational drone, such as the DroneBlocks Crazyflie drone or the Raspberry Pi drone kit. These options come at a much lower price point and are better suited for larger groups of students.

For educators seeking a more comprehensive computer science-based curriculum centered around drones and suitable for larger groups of students, consider the DroneBlocks curriculum paired with the educational Crazyflie drones. This comprehensive drone curriculum costs $495 per year and includes software access for unlimited students, offering the opportunity to explore DroneBlocks coding with or without drones.

Is DroneBlocks a worthwhile investment to make a drone light show?

While the initial investment is substantial, the drone light show kit from DroneBlocks can be used repeatedly, providing year-after-year and show-after-show value. Considering the average cost of a professional drone light show, the DroneBlocks kit is one of the most cost-effective ways to put on a drone light show.

Note there are a few other drone light show kits out there. Drone Dojo offers another kit which charges per drone. Their kit charges per drone, going for $1,000 per drone. That means you’d spend $10,000 to get 10 drones, whereas the DroneBlocks kit is $7,500 for 10 drones. But the Drone Dojo light show kit is a better pick if you want a smaller upfront investment to just dip your toes into light show drones.

Moreover, many grants are specifically written for STEM opportunities, offering various ways to secure funding. The DroneBlocks drone light show kit introduces students to career opportunities in the drone industry. Plus, it allows them to showcase their learning to friends and family with an unforgettable drone light show.

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