Wish you could get your Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie box delivered by drone? If your local Girl Scout troupe has a STEM program as advanced as this team in Texas, you may be able to.
The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas are building drones — and they’re using them to deliver 2019’s crop of Girl Scout Cookie boxes.
The young engineers worked with STEM educational group OnPoynt Aerial Solutions to design a custom drone that holds Girl Scout cookie boxes. The Girl Scouts not only are learning about drone delivery, but also safe flying, drone assembly and and even flew through an obstacle course with and without First-Person View (FPV). The girls also learned about entrepreneurship, creating drone-focused business models in a Shark Tank-style setting, where they pitched their ideas to a team of local Dallas ‘minnows’.
The Girl Scouts this summer launched 30 new badges nationwide to motivate girls to do engineering-focused projects beyond the drone deliveries done in Dallas, such as building robots and designing balloon-powered cars.
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Women currently only make up 29% of the science and engineering workforce., but many are optimistic that programs like the new Girl Scout badges (and the cookie drone delivery project in Texas) could change that.
The trend of “drones for education” has grown in the past few years.
French dronemaker Parrot makes the Mambo drones, specifically targeted at STEM education. Chinese drone manufacturer Ryze Tech partnered with DJI to create a $99 kid-friendly drone that combines DJI flight technology and an Intel processor to create a budget camera drone that also can be used to teach newbies the basics of programming. The Tello drone utilizes Scratch as its coding platform. Scratch is a programming language targeted at children. Essentially, you can program the drone to fly certain directions based on the “code” you have written.
There are also less conventional drones for kids, such as the Flybrix Lego drone kit, which includes a preprogrammed board, propellers and motors. It’s intended to be a tool to teach its users a variety of skills, from the principles of flight to computer science to the basics of electrical engineering. The Flybrix Lego drone kit currently retails for $45.67 on Amazon.