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Lan-Oak Park District’s first drone-making class teaches practical skills

Electronics, small motor skills, cause and effect, eye-hand coordination, and more

by Jennifer Yos

LANSING, Ill. (October 23, 2018) – This fall the Lan-Oak Park District added a new and trendy after-school class to their youth program—Drone-Making 101—designed for Lansing youth between the ages of 9 and 12 who are interested in building and flying their own stunt drones. The first six-week class ended on Friday, October 19, with students flying their drones through an obstacle course set up in the gym.

Instructor Celestra Warren taught Drone-Making 101. (Photo: Jennifer Yos)
But the class began with lessons about drone flight safety, including how to avoid propeller dangers and drone accidents and how to avoid fires with proper battery care. According to Instructor Celestra Warren, no FAA laws need to be followed because these are non-commercial drones.

In weeks two through five, participants built the remote controls and the bodies of their SkyViper 1700 stunt drones. Warren walked the participants through the detailed instructions, helped them identify and assemble complex parts—motor connectors, power sockets, and flight controller boards—and encouraged them each step of the way. “This is what I love about this job,” she said. “Getting to know these individuals, even if it’s only for a few weeks.”

From left: Celestra Warren guides Szion Pullin, Joshua Hall, Jalyn Anderson, and Jalen Ivy through the process of assembling the drone bodies. (Photo: Jennifer Yos)

The six-week course culminated with the students flying their own drones and attempting to maneuver them through a new drone obstacle course set up in the Eisenhower Center gym. Though the skills are similar to those required in video games, students found that other factors can influence real-life situations—battery power, loose wires, and depth perception. Warren enjoyed watching them learn and make adjustments throughout the course.

Joshua Hall tried his new skills in the open air of the Eisenhower gym:

The Park District intends to offer this youth program class again and is also considering adding a more advanced drone-making class for teens. The class costs $47.00 for residents or $52.00 for non-residents. That cost includes the drone kit, and students keep the drones at the end of the class.

Lan-Oak Park District offers these classes and other programs at the Eisenhower Center, 2550 178th Street in Lansing. Their Fall 2018 program brochure can be viewed online:

  • Fall 2018 Park District Programs


Jennifer Yos
Jennifer Yos
Jennifer Yos grew up on Walter Street in Lansing with nine siblings. She attended St. Ann’s School and T.F. South, and she earned a BA in the Teaching of English from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a MS in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Francis, Joliet. For 34 years she taught English, as well as Creative Writing and Drama, at Lincoln-Way High School. She dabbled in freelance journalism for the Joliet Herald News Living section. Now retired, Jennifer appreciates the opportunity to write for The Lansing Journal and is uplifted by the variety of positive people she has already met who are making a difference in Lansing.