This Autumn half term saw hosting our first ever code-a-drone workshop with Chester Storyhouse. We ran two sessions that were both greatly received and we hope that this is the first of many fun workshops we will be running at Storyhouse.

Chester Storyhouse is a new public building which opened in May 2018. The recently renovated cinema located in the heart of Chester was funded by; Cheshire West and Chester Council, Arts Council England and other trusts and foundations. Many local residents, especially younger people can now enjoy culture and arts events close to the city centre. Our workshop was commissioned by Storyhouse to help engage young people with arts and educational technology.

In the venue, we used the theatre hall to build our runway of drones and an obstacle course for our budding pilots to fly their way around using our programmable drones. Parents were also invited to stay, watch, and even take part. 

Code-A-Drone at Chester Storyhouse

Our Code-A-Drone workshop ran both a morning and afternoon session, each lasting for two hours. During the workshop, each participant was provided with their own iPad and a mini-drone. We begin our workshop with an introduction to coding and outlaying the rules, to make sure everyone can enjoy the workshop in a safe environment. Our team is always on hand to support, motivate and check coding to make sure everybody is having fun throughout the sessions.

By carrying out various activities, participants learn how to program a mini-drone to take off, fly, turn, do stunts and land safely. We build and test our participants’ coding skills with a series of practical drone flying challenges. In our workshops, we believe it’s important that our participants understand that it’s ok to make mistakes. Learning from mistakes and each other is actively encouraged, we heavily promote exploring different ideas of how to build code throughout our workshop. As demonstrated through each person’s attempt, there is no right or wrong answer, only different ways to reach the same goal.

Our final activity was a point based challenge, where participants score points for programming their drones to successfully land in specific zones. The winner of the first session was Katie with 950 points and Tom won our second session with 600 points. At the end of both workshops, certificates and badges were handed out to everybody who took part. Congratulations to all! 

Final Thoughts

We would like to thank those who attended the workshops and showed their interest in coding and drone piloting. It was great to hear that so many young people had previous coding knowledge thanks to their school curriculum. Thanks to Storyhouse Chester for letting us bring our workshop to their newly refurbished venue, which was a delight to see.