Parrot Mambo Drone Review by Michelle Biwer
Our library recently purchased a set of Parrot Mambo Drones for use in STEM programs. They are about $110 each plus accessories.
With Parrot Mambo Drones you can:
- Fly a drone using a smartphone or other device with a bluetooth connection as a remote.
- Program a drone using different programming languages/platforms including Swift Playground, Tynker, Blockly, HTML, and Python.
- Perform tricks including using the cannon launcher and gripper tools.
- Take pictures with the drone’s camera.
- Follow STEM lesson plans set up by other teachers.
I recently used our drones in a “Flight School” program for middle schoolers. I set up an obstacle course and let the teens fly through the course. They loved flying the drones and found them easy to use, although it takes some practice to be able to maneuver well. The only issues I have with the drones are the short (15 minute) battery life and occasionally it takes a second try to connect the drone to the remote. I recommend the Parrot Mambo minidrone as a versatile tool that can be used for a wide variety of programs, from traditional STEM to fun racing events.
Tips for running a successful program:
Lay the ground rules before teens can fly their drones. I said teens were not allowed to fly their drone into another drone or another person, and if they did they would have to give up their turn.
Purchase extra batteries, as each battery will only last 15 minutes. Since I did not have enough batteries, I let half of the group fly first and then we took a Virtual Reality break. I used Google Expeditions to show the teens some other flying machines and explained the mechanics of flight. After the batteries recharged (which takes 30 minutes), the second half of the group flew the drones for the last 15 minutes of the program.
Read the FAA regulations on drone use. Since my library is within 5 miles of an airport I cannot fly the drones outside.
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About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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