DOAV Banner Logo

Alberta Smith Elementary Teaches with Drones

The first graders at Alberta Smith Elementary School are learning about estimation and measurement with the help of two flying teachers – quadcopter drones. Teacher Annwyn Long created this lesson specifically to take advantage of the Virginia Department of Aviation’s (DOAV) Teacher’s Grant. The purpose of this grant is simple: bring aviation into the Commonwealth’s classrooms.

In the cavernous school gym, Long set up two hula hoops about twenty feet apart. First, students were given stopwatches and began the lesson by timing how long it took for their classmates to pilot the drone from one hoop to the other. When the last person took their turn flying the drone to the second hula hoop, the kids would estimate the distance it had flown. Finally, the students measured the distance using colorful connecting rods that stretched from the starting point to where the drone had landed. Like scientists, they recorded their data on brown clipboards.

Among the smiles and laughter, Long heard one student say during her drone lesson, “I am a pilot now. I know how to fly a drone!”

The DOAV’s Teacher’s Grant is available to any K-12 teacher in the Commonwealth and can reimburse up to $500 for the materials and equipment needed for the aviation lesson. Details, eligibility requirements, and applications can be found at Questions about the Teacher’s Grant can be sent to

Scroll to Top