Newport News Libraries Teach Drone Skills

The next generation of aeronautical robot engineers could be coming out of Hampton Roads! Local teens ages 13 to 18 had the opportunity to learn about and build unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) this summer.

The program is called UAVs 4 Me and was created by the Newport News Public Library System’s (NNPLS) Digital Services Team through a grant from the Best Buy Foundation. In the course of this hands-on five-part program series, students engaged in activities which helped them develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills while learning about small robotics.

The first UAVs 4 Me program was at South Morrison Family Education Center; the program at Heritage High School’s Governor’s STEM Academy was the second. During the program series, students learned about safety in the initial sessions and then built the unmanned aerial vehicles. All participants were then able to learn how to fly the UAVs and participate in the grand finale obstacle course event. At Heritage High School, two girls had the fastest time in the competition. The event’s second place winner was Marissa Harris and the first place winner was Aaronique Lee, who won a Samsung Galaxy tablet as the grand prize.

Marissa Harris (left) and Aaronique Lee (right) took second and first place respectively creating and flying their own drones through an obstacle course.
Marissa Harris (left) and Aaronique Lee (right) took second and first place respectively creating and flying their own drones through an obstacle course.

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The Newport News Public Library System is seeking two additional educational and/or non-profit organizations to host the free UAVs 4 Me five-part program this fall. Schools and organizations interested in hosting the program must provide a facility with a space for instruction, including seating and desk/table space for 15 participants. In addition, there must be UAV flight space with a ceiling clearance of at least 15 feet, such as a gymnasium. For information about hosting UAVs 4 Me, contact Alexandria Payne, NNPLS digital services manager at 757-926-1360 or apayne@nnva.gov. Additional program information can be found on the library system’s website at www.nnpls.libguides.com/UAVs4Me.