Students from five districts take part in Orange Unified’s game of drones

Students from eight schools representing five districts and three counties recently battled for air superiority in the Orange Unified School District’s annual iInspire Drone Invitational.

The competition, which was the culminating event in Orange Unified’s Drone League, took place on May 22 at California Elementary School, drawing a standing-room-only crowd.

Students and staff from California Elementary School
A team of students from California Elementary School in Orange Unified tied for first place in the fourth-grade division at the iInspire Drone Invitational.

Students in grades four, five and six engaged in three events. The Coding Integration Challenge tasked student teams with coding their drones to navigate a three-dimensional maze. The Integration Challenge had students present research on how drones provide solutions to real-world problems. And the Free Flying finale challenged teams to pilot their drones around a square track for time.

Orange Unified’s California and Handy elementary schools tied for first place in the fourth-grade division, Macy Elementary in the Lowell Joint School District won the fifth-grade competition, and Walnut Elementary from the La Habra City School District took top honors among the sixth-grade teams.

The OUSD Drone League was established last year to stoke student interest in coding and to teach the basics of programming using the SWIFT Playground tools created by Apple. The competition also gives kids a working knowledge of drones, which continue to play a bigger role in industries including transportation, entertainment, agriculture and public safety.

Schools interested in joining OUSD’s Drone League or competing in next year’s iInspire Drone Invitational are encouraged to contact California Elementary Principal John Albert at