4th and 5th Graders Fly High


Mrs. Ober

McPherson’s 4th and 5th grade drone team.

Owen Smith and Drew Nagler

This year McPherson had an afterschool drone class taught by Mr.Turner which was open to 20 4th and 5th-grade students. The class competed in the iLnspire Drone Competition at California Elementary on May 22 and did a great job and were able to place 5th out of 8 different schools. This year was the first year McPherson had a Drone program and will strive to do better year after year. All of the students had a great time and they are very proud of themselves. They are all super excited for next year’s competition. The kids we interviewed and  Mr. Turner had a great time working with codes and drones.

We were actually able to get a couple of interviews and find out a little bit more about the Drone Squad. Here is what they all had to say.

The first person that we interviewed was Mr.Turner. He said, “the Drone Squad was a group of 4th and 5th graders that worked together to code drones. I really enjoyed seeing what the kids could do with something that wasn’t for a grade. I also really enjoyed teaching the whole thing and being a part of the Drone Squad. It was exciting to watch our kids grow and they all did a great job in the class and at the competition.”

5th grader Dexter Casey said, “ My favorite part about the Drone Squad was racing the drones and I also really liked the software and thought it was pretty neat. I was really surprised about getting to code the drones and not be able to remote control them. I will for sure do this again next year because I thought this was a really fun thing to do.” For the competition, Casey flew his drone in the free flight relay challenge and created a presentation with fellow 5th grader Elizabeth Pasquilino on how drones are used in agriculture.

4th-grade member of the squad named Trey Esperanza was in the coding challenge for the 4th-grade team, along with Ethan Halter and Daniel Dillon. “My favorite part of the whole thing was definitely the coding,” Esperanza said.  “When I learned how to do it, I just had a really fun time with the drone. It was really cool flying the drones too. If I can, I will definitely do it again.”

The students practiced every Wednesday after school to get ready for the three event competition. Teams competed in a free flight relay challenge where four pilots each took a turn flying the drone via iPad remote control. Each pilot flew one lap before landing and handing the remote to the next pilot.

The coding challenge was a 10-minute timed obstacle course where each team coded the drone to fly over, under, and through obstacles.

Finally, in the Integration Challenge, student teams created a presentation showing how drone technology was being used in the real world.

In the first-ever McPherson drone class, 63 students signed up for the 20 available spots. “It was pretty exciting,” Mr. Turner said, “to have such strong interest in this. We had a great group with us and I’m looking forward to doing this again next year.” Mr. Turner said he is hoping to bring this to the middle school next year as well.