STEAMing with Drones

Moderation state
Grant Applicant
Heidi Bushway Verkler, NTS STEAM Elective Teacher
School Site
Grant Date

Coding and spatial awareness and drones, oh my! Drones are the fastest growing technology in the 21st century. Students who participate in the North Tahoe School (NTS) STEAM elective class research STEAM careers and drone pilot is one that produces a great deal of interest ( STEAMing with Drones will encourage students to take their coding skills to a new level when they learn how to program a drone by expanding upon their skills. What will be new with using drones in the middle school is introducing students to learn more about sensors, including an accelerometer, a gyrocscope, and a barometer. It will be a great way to expand upon coding while continuing to getting their hands on new and interesting hardware.

Benefits of Program

Students who are part of the STEAM elective class at NTS will benefit from the STEAMing with Drones program. About 125 students come through the STEAM Lab every school year. During their time in the STEAM Lab students learn about robotics, design thinking, coding, engineering, problem solving, and critical thinking. Drones would be a great addition to the program in that it would allow students to expand upon all of these skills while utilizing their coding skills with a device other than robots. Drones would allow students to learn about spatial awareness by coding and flying drones in an obstacle course as well as using them outside in open space. STEAMing with Drones would be very beneficial to the STEAM program at NTS and a great addition to the coding units.

Success of Program

NTS used to educate students in 5th - 8th Grades. Two years ago the 5th Grades were moved back to the two feeder elementary schools. With that move, NTS lost students; thus, the STEAM elective programs Measure AA funds were reduced. STEAMing with Drones program would show success in the STEAM elective program by expanding upon skills that are already taught (coding) but using a different device where students could show their advanced skills by flying drones inside the classroom and outside of the school. The STEAM elective program has grown in the 5 years that I have been at NTS. I feel that growth is in part because of the new technology, thanks to grants that I have written, that I am bringing into the lab and exposing the middle school students too. Bringing drones into the lab would assist in maintaining interested students.


STEAMing with Drones would be implemented in the 7th & 8th Grade NTS STEAM elective classes. Since these classes are mixed with students from both grade levels, students who participate in STEAM attend classes everyday for two years. Curriculum in the STEAM lab rotates every two years to continue to keep students interested in the career and technical education (CTE) class. It's imperative to continue to expand upon new available technology so students continue to grow and see the relevancy of this elective class in careers and their future.

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

STEAMING with Drones could be a fun and collaborative unit to implement into the physical education classes.

If STEAMING with Drones is fully funded it would not need additional funding from the Excellence in Education Foundation. Ancillary pieces are already available in the STEAM Lab.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$2040 - 10 Pack of Drones
Other funding sources

Other funding sources for ancillary pieces (batteries, flying cage, obstacles) are already part of the STEAM Lab.

File Uploads

As mentioned above, this grant, STEAMing with Drones, would provide another means of expanding upon the coding skills students learn in the NTS STEAM Lab. Students enjoy coding robots, but coding drones would truly excite my students!