Middle School Competition 

Synchronized Dancing Drones

Meet The Judges  |  Common FAQ  |  Rules

2020 Synchronized Dancing Drone Competition

The middle school drone competition is truly unique in so many various aspects:

  • First nationwide and international drone challenge specifically designed for middle school students
  • Drone curriculum for the classroom included with registration – also applicable for clubs, after school programs, etc.
  • Virtual submission of final presentations – permitting a nationwide pool of participants
  • Professional judges representing multiple drone industries who have a passion for STEAM
  • Judges Webinar Series – sharing real-life applicability experiences and career path stories; student and teacher Q&A
  • Prizes and participatory certificates for teams and finalists
  • Invitation to participate live (or virtually if from out of state) in the Dancing Drone Final Four event in Dallas, TX

2020 Middle School Drone Competition

Synchronized Robotics Challenge: Dancing Drone Competition
Presented by Drobots and DroneBlocks

The 2020 Middle School Competition will kickoff this year with: The Synchronized Dancing Drone Competition. This unique and innovative competition will merge the arts with technology as it never has never been presented before. The goal is to inspire middle school students with a diverse skillset or interest in the fields of creative arts, technology, engineering, and performance.

The future of flight is evolving and so are STEAM-based competitions. The 2020 Dancing Drone Competition (DDC) will include middle school students representing schools from all over the United States and from around the globe. These teams of students, led by coaches, mentors and teachers will program, test and synchronize drones to produce a final Dancing Drone presentation, all choreographed to music.

To earn success, teams must work together in a collaborative and creative manner to create an autonomous choreographed code and solutions for the aforementioned design and flight challenge.

This is Not Your Typical Drone Competition

  • For Middle School Students
  • Truly Adding the “A” in the acronym STEAM
  • Combining Drones + Programming + Music + Creativity
  • Final Projects Shared Through a Virtual Submission

An Event Like No Other

-Curriculum Included
-Join From Anywhere In The World
-Technology Meets Creativity
-Virtual Submissions
-Judge’s Webinar Series Included
-Collaboration and Teamwork
-Stamping the “A” into STEAM

2020 Spring Drone Event

Meet The Dancing Drone Competition Judges

Coding Judge

Dennis Baldwin

Dennis Baldwin

DroneBlocks, Founder

Dennis has a strong background in electrical engineering and software technology. He has co-founded several technology businesses over the past 20 years including his most recent venture, DroneBlocks. DroneBlocks is a platform that consists of an app, curriculum, and a vibrant community of users sharing their mission code from all over the world. DroneBlocks was born out of Dennis’s passion for radio controlled cars and planes when he was a kid before he started to build flying wings with APM/Pixhawk. Dennis lives in Austin, TX.

Drone Presentation Judge

Sharon Rossmark

Sharon Rossmark

Women and Drones, CEO

Sharon’s passion is to inspire and support more females to pursue careers and opportunities in STEM and aviation. Her company, Women and Drones has become the premier global platform featuring women who are disrupting, innovating and shaping the future of the drone industry – enabling women to connect, collaborate and make global business connections to grow their network. The organization’s educational theme centers on “learning through the wonders of flying robots.™” Sharon’s educational programs help to incorporate drones into STEM programming for youth with an emphasis on engaging girls. Sharon lives in Chicago, IL and is also a published author.

Choreography Judge

Marisa Vickery

Marisa Vickery

Educator & Drone Edu Aficionado

Marisa is a strong supporter of STEM/STEAM education and values the integration of The Arts with technology. She has supported programs across the world to promote Drone Education, including volunteering at the 2017 Scout Jamboree STEMQuest Program in West Virginia and the Army STEMfest in Texas. Marisa was honored as the TCEA 2017 High Impact Teacher of the Year and has presented at SXSWedu, ISTE, Austin Mini-Maker Faire, World Maker Faire in New York, Kamehameha School’s “Disrupt”, Texas Region 8, and TCEA conferences. Marisa has brought the Design Thinking Process into drones within the classroom. Also, Marisa has extensive experience in Dance. She lives in Austin, TX.

Team Presentation Judge

Lorie Grabham

Lorie Grabham

Sr. Systems Analyst, American Airlines

Lorie is a fervent Mentor for STEAM, especially in middle schools and support of multiple technology and drone clubs. As an American Airline’s Technical Operations Information Technology (IT) Leader with 25+ year’s airline/aviation experience, Lorie drives UAS innovation for maintenance and engineering, At American Airlines, Lorie’s job is to oversee the development of business technologies and reporting solutions supporting aircraft Maintenance and Engineering operations. She graduated from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. in Aerospace Studies and earned a Master’s degree for Unmanned Systems Engineering, however her true passion for unmanned systems extends beyond airline involvement where she is driving UAS innovation for maintenance and engineering. Lorie is a certified Part 107 remote pilot and has been involved in work and research focused on UAS integration. Also, Lorie is the President for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Saguaro Chapter and Advisory Board Member of Aerospace Arizona Association – connecting industry, academia and legislature to promote reliable, safe and professional drone use and deployment in the industry – awarded as Chapter of the Year 2019.

Creative Judge

Jerome Bouvard

Jerome Bouvard

Parrot, Head of Education

Jerome is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and the Head of the Education and Developer programs at Parrot, Europe’s largest drone manufacturer. He has been working at Parrot for 10 years and wrote some code on the original A.R. Drone! In 2016, he moved from Paris to San Francisco to launch “Parrot Education”, the goal of which was to introduce drone and coding at K-12 level. The program was a tremendous success, with more than 2,000 schools involved, and major partnerships with Apple, Google and Tynker, the leading coding platform for kids. The program was extended to higher education with a major partnership with the MIT and MathWorks-Simulink. Today, Jerome is in charge of the Enterprise Partnerships, working with all the companies in the industry to leverage the use of the ANAFI platform in their business by integrating the SDK capabilities to their applications or services. He is also a part 107 certified pilot and a hobbyist photographer.

Team Presentation Judge

Amanda Dombrowski

Amanda Dombrowski

Sport Presentation Producer, The Drone Racing League

Amanda Dombrowski brings passion for live entertainment & sports production with more than 10 years’ experience in live events, television production & the performing arts. With over 15 years of professional dance experience, Amanda has competed nation wide and performed with nationally acclaimed dance companies and danced professionally with Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. From on stage to behind the scenes, Amanda has had the opportunity to create, produce & collaborate with NBA teams for the NBA All-Star Weekend, Finals, and WNBA Draft, along with other league & affiliated events for NBA’s Global Games in South Africa, China, London, & Spain and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Amanda is now a Live Event & Sport Presentation Producer for The Drone Racing League in New York City. With her love of production, sports and the arts, she is currently producing and creating content for the overall Sport Presentation show for live audience events across the world. She attributes her dance background to her current creative field within live events and production. 
 

Additional Competition Details

Action Steps to Participate

Action Steps to Participate

Registration must be completed and entry fees must be received and paid in full no later than 30 days prior to the start of the upcoming competition.

Teams should consist of 4 to 8 students, excluding your team’s adult instructor/teacher. Your instructor must be a teacher, faculty member or club advisor. Your team’s instructor may not be a parent, unless your team consists of students who are homeschooled.

For any questions regarding instructor eligibility please email us:

dancingdrone@drobotscompany.com

What Does the Entry Fee Include?

What Does the Entry Fee Include

  • One year of of access to cutting-edge drone curriculum for the classroom or after school program
  • Entry Into the Competition for one team
  • Access to the Drobots Dancing Drone Professional Classroom Webinar Series
  • Access to community online support 
  • An opportunity to participate in the Dancing Drone Final Four
Key Dates & Event Timeline

Key Dates & Event Timeline

Payment Due Date: March 15, 2020

Final Submission Due Date: May 1, 2020

What To Expect After Your Team Registers

What To Expect After Your Team Registers

  • Once your team registers you will receive a username and password to access the Dancing Drone online curriculum
    • To provide equal preparation time and to ensure fairness across all participating teams, access to the online curriculum will be released on the same date to all competing teams.
  • Judges Classroom Webinar Series dates will be announced and shared
  • You will receive any updated answers to commonly asked questions, so all teams have access to the same FAQ as they evolve with each relevant Q&A.
  • Your team will receive email updates on upcoming due dates
Technology Requirements

Technology Requirements

The Drone

The TELLO is the recommended drone for the Dancing Drone Competition. It is also the drone we will reference continuously in the online curriculum you will receive and have access,

If you do not have TELLOS already purchased, please click here to view one of many options to purchase.

There are two different versions of the TELLO. There is the regular TELLO and then there is also the TELLO EDU. Either version of the TELLO will work for the Dancing Drone Competition.

However, if you have the budget to purchase the TELLO EDU, we do recommend purchasing the EDU version, only because there may be future options and applicability with the EDU version, especially if you may participate in other upcoming Dancing Drone Competitions.

Flying and Programming The Drone

DroneBlocks is a free App and the coding and programming App we recommend using for this event. It is also the App we will reference in the online curriculum you will receive and have access.

You may learn more about DroneBlocks and download the DroneBlocks app for iOS, Android and Chrome by clicking here.

The Curriculum

The Curriculum

This is not only simply a competition, it is also an innovative drone curriculum intended to be used and taught to middle school students within classroom or after school program environment.  

  • Customized DroneBlocks Online Curriculum For One Team (One Classroom, After School Program, Club, etc)
    • Basic Programming with DroneBlocks
    • Advanced Programming with DroneBlocks: Loops and Variables
    • Full Access to the DroneBlocks App (supported devices: iOS, Android, Chrome)
    • Example Dancing Drone “Moves” Video
    • Video Submission Guidelines and Criteria For Judging 
    • Safety Best-Practices, Connectivity Best-Practices and more

*Tello or Tello EDU drones are not included (either version is acceptable for the competition). Competition requires no less than 2 Tello drones and no more than 4 Tello drones.

*NOTE: All Tello drones are sold separately or may be purchased separately.

Eligibility of The Participants

Eligibility of The Participants

Teams comprised of Middle School students are eligible to participate.

For the purposes of the Dancing Drone Competition “middle school” is defined as students currently in 5th through 8th grade (or if the event is during the summer, entering 5th through 8th grade).

We strongly recommend each team has a teacher or mentor who may serve as the team leader or coach. We recommend this teacher or mentor is at least 21 years of age.

The teacher and mentor should serve a leader, educator, and facilitator of the curriculum and presentation. This person should not participate in any hands-on technical or other other facets of the presentation. Please remember, this is a middle school competition and the work and final presentation should be the result of the students and their hard work and dedication.

Lastly and for safety purposes, we also recommend that each Team’s teacher has been fully vetted and has completed a full criminal background check based on the rules, regulations, and policies in your township, district, city, and state. Drobots will not be responsible for vetting or choosing the Team’s teacher or Mentor and therefore will not be responsible for this person’s character, history, background, experience, or any related criminal acts or criminal sexual acts.

Ready To Register?
How long should the final presentation last?

The final presentation and uncut (non-edited) video recording submission should be no shorter than 60 seconds and no longer than 120 seconds.

What are the details of the curriculum?

You will have access to the curriculum for either through one year OR up until the next competition is announced.

  • If a new competition is announced (within the one-year window from your original date of purchase), which requires you to purchase and learn new curriculum, Drobots will provide you with a discount code to purchase the new curriculum. 
  • All content is viewable on an online through a learning management system and presented as a series of video lessons and lesson plans.
  • Each curriculum purchase will allow for one username and login per team. This information may be shared with other members of your team in case multiple team members are working on the project at the same time.
Are there any requirements or rules for choosing the music or backdrop?

Music
The choice of music is entirely up to your team. As an example, live music (ie: school band or ensemble) or royalty free music are great choices. Here is a link to some royalty free music.

Backdrop
The backdrop for your final presentation is also completely up to you and your team. You may get as creative as your team so desires. Our only suggestion is to ensure that, during the filming of the drone dance, the viewer will be able to clearly see the drones flying in front of the backdrop. 

What needs to be submitted?

Your team will be required to submit two separate URL links representing the following final video recordings:

Submission Requirement 1:
The team’s first submission is the final, unedited video recording of your Dancing Drone Performance submission.

Submission Requirement 2:
The team’s second submission is the final video recording of the Team Presentation submission. This may be edited before final submission.

Dancing Drone Final Performance: What are the rules for submitting the final video?

Please read below to learn the submission rules and also, the steps to take to submit your team’s video recordings.

Reminders Before You Submit:
Remember, your team may not edit (or “cut”) the final performance for submission. While your team may attempt multiple recordings, no presentation will be accepted if the judges detect any video editing. In other words the entire video must be “uncut” or also known in the movie industry as a recording completed in “One shot”. One shot includes the entire performance and all drone movements, musical additions, backdrop movements, etc. must occur at the same time without any additions to the recording in pre- or post-production.

Definitions (according to Wikipedia):
One Shot:
A one-shot or continuous shot feature film is a full-length movie filmed in one long take by a single camera.

Cut:
In the post-production process of film editing and video editing, a cut is an abrupt, but usually trivial film transition from one sequence to another. It is synonymous with the term edit, though “edit” can imply any number of transitions or effects.
Any “Cuts” are against the rules and your team will be disqualified


Step-by-Step on How To Submit:

Step 1:
Visit www.youtube.com
Your team must share all final submissions via a URL link generated from your YouTube account. If you do not have a YouTube account please create one.

Step 2:
Title the video properly 
The Title of Video:
Name the “title” of your video in the following manner: “SchoolName 2019 Dancing Drone Competition Final Performance” Example: “George Washington Middle School 2019 Dancing Drone Competition Final Performance”

Description of video:
In the description section, please list all of the names of the participants who helped to create the final performance. Enter names as first names and last initials only please.

Step 3:
Privacy settings:
Please set your “privacy setting” to “unlisted”. This setting will permit anyone in possession of the link will be able to view your video. Once the competition is over it is your team’s choice to either: remove the video from YouTube or change the privacy setting to your preference.

Step 4:
Email your YouTube link to complete your final submission:
Please send an email to dancingdrone@drobotscompany.com. Type the full name of your school in the subject line and include the YouTube video URL link within the body of the email.

Important Note: Although preferred and efficient, you do not need to submit the Final Dancing Drone Performance and the Team Presentation together in one email. They may be submitted separately.

Team Presentation Final Submission: What are the rules for submitting the final video?

Please read below to learn the submission rules and also, the steps to take to submit your Team Presentation Video.

Reminders Before You Submit:
Unlike to final submission for the Dancing Drone Performance, your team may edit the Team Presentation. With the exception of the rules stated below, there are no other rules pertaining to what software you use to edit your video or how many times you edit your video.

Rules (and suggestions) For The Team Presentation:

  • The final presentation submission must include a 3-5 minute video of how your team worked together to complete the Dancing Drone final performance and project.
  • This short video presentation should include the following answers to these questions:
    • Introduction of your team name and the individuals who participated in the competition.
    • How you did you begin to plan for the project and competition? First steps, timeline, project plan?
    • Before starting the project, what were the team’s expectations for what the final presentation would look like?
    • How did your team choose team roles and responsibilities and why?
    • What were the most challenging aspects of working on the project?
    • What were the most enjoyable aspects of the project and working together?
    • What did the team learn most about working together during this project?
    • Lastly, interpret your final presentation as a narrative: where did the inspiration originate from for the music, backdrop, drone dance moves, choreography, etc.
  • Feel free to include any other additional details or relevant and important information that your team believes is important to share in the video.

Step-by-Step on How To Submit:

Step 1:
Visit www.youtube.com
Your team must share all final submissions via a URL link generated from your YouTube account. If you do not have a YouTube account please create one.

Step 2:
Title the video properly 
The Title of Video:
Name the “title” of your video in the following manner: “SchoolName 2019 Dancing Drone Team Presentation” Example: “George Washington Middle School 2019 Dancing Drone Team Presentation”

Description of video:
In the description section, please list all of the names of the participants who helped to create the final performance. Enter names as first names and last initials only please.

Step 3:
Privacy settings:
Please set your “privacy setting” to “unlisted”. This setting will permit anyone in possession of the link will be able to view your video. Once the competition is over it is your team’s choice to either: remove the video from YouTube or change the privacy setting to your preference.

Step 4:
Email your YouTube link to complete your final submission:
Please send an email to dancingdrone@drobotscompany.com. Type the full name of your school in the subject line and include the YouTube video URL link within the body of the email.

Important Note: Although preferred and efficient, you do not need to submit the Team Presentation and the Final Dancing Drone Performance together in one email. They may be submitted separately.

Have A Question?

If you have a question about the competition or any of the rules, please contact us at any time.

Please note:
Any question(s) submitted, which results in an answer that all teams may benefit from learning or knowing, will be posted and update for all Teams to view.

Once we receive your question and respond, we will post your question and the appropriate answer in the FAQ section.

To submit your question:
Please send an email to dancingdrone@drobotscompany.com.

Ready To Register?

"This Is The World Cup of Aerial Robotics"

Our Robotics Club, which is all-girls, enjoyed the ability to mesh technology with the arts. The ‘aerial visual arts concept’ attracted a variety of interests and backgrounds from within our school, which is extremely rare. We will continue to compete in future challenges. Until then…

~ Mary T. | Science Olympiad and Club Coach | Madison, WI

"The Aerial Autonomous Competition Was More Fun For Me Than The Students "

Our team just returned from the Aerial Robotics League competition. The ride home was a 3-hour journey, but the time went quickly because all we talked about was how exciting and challenging your competition was. As a parent, the experience leading up to the event was enjoyable to watch unfold. However, the event day was what made me the most proud. All of those hours of team collaboration came together perfectly in the perfect aerial robotics symphony. Great fun and learning.

 

~ David P. | Parent and Middle School Science Teacher

"Finally a Drone Competition that is similar to First League. Tremendous"

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Watching the kids come together and compete against other teams of students was so enjoyable to watch. Controlling a drone is not only a skill, but has real applicability to the future of tomorrow’s generation. We didn’t come in first place this year, but all of us who experienced the event WON!

~ Susan M. | Robotics Coach and Mother

Drobots Company specifically designs 21st century “drone STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills for kids and teens in and out of the classroom! Come explore with us and be inspired by energetic challenges and competitions created for the entire student. It’s time to take off and build critical 21st century “drone STEM” skills, teamwork, and collaboration – join us! “Drone competitions“. “Drone school competitions“. “Aerial Robotics competitions for kids“. “Aerial Robotics competitions for teens“. “Drone Contests“. “Aerial Robotics competitions for schools“. “First Lego League Drone Competitions“. “Drone competitions for kids“. “Drone competitions for teens“. “drones and art competitions“. “Drone racing competitions for kids“. “Drone racing competitions for middle school“. “Drone racing competitions for high school“, “aerial robotics competitions“, “drone racing league and competitions“, “drone racing league“, “coding summer camps“, “game design summer camps“, “FPV drone competition“, “drone competition and racing for kids“, “technology competition“, “technology races“, “drone racing course camps“, “autonomous drone racing“, “autonomous drone competition“, “first person view drone competition