Drones in the Classroom: Teaching STEM by Stealth

Keira Joyce
Keira Joyce
22 May 2023
Girls from MLC flying drones

Teachers looking for exciting new STEM approaches, look no further! She Maps strives to encourage young people, and especially young women, to engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and to promote non-traditional careers as an option for students. One of the most interesting ways to do this is through indoor drone programs which incorporate new technologies into classroom environments. 

Real world STEM learning

Real-world applications make STEM subjects more engaging and interesting for students. When they can see the way that STEM concepts are used to address real-life challenges, students are more likely to see the value of, and develop a genuine interest in the subject learning. Research shows that using real-world scenarios in the classroom leads to increased curiosity, exploration, and deeper student learning. 

For example, by providing students with a real-world challenge, such as using a drone to collect aerial data or deliver medical supplies, students will have a tangible and practical application to learn and apply maths, coding, and engineering. By programming a drone to perform a specific task, students can see firsthand the results of their code and how coding can be used to solve real-world challenges.

Real-world applications also help students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They learn to apply their knowledge to analyse, evaluate, and solve complex problems. This fosters a mindset of innovation and creativity and helps students to develop practical skill sets that can be used in various STEM-related careers.

students learning to fly drones
Students using their new flight skills to manually fly a drone

She Maps Classroom Drone Essentials – A one of a kind STEM program

Classroom Drone Essentials (CDE) is an indoor drone program designed to enhance student awareness of the drone and geospatial industry. This program allows students to experience a day in the life of a geospatial scientist. Using an image mat and drone, students are issued the challenge of surveying a local geographical area that has been impacted by a weather event to monitor for environmental damage and impact. Armed with their drone, students will be the ‘first on the scene’ to collect aerial data and report back to authorities. CDE simulates the real-world use of drones and teaches students how and why drones are used in industry. Students will also meet (virtually) industry role models who will highlight different career paths that drones and the geospatial industry offer. It is a jam-packed program that takes students through drone safety, how to fly drones manually and culminates with students using block coding to program their drone for autonomous flight!

The great thing is that this program can be delivered in different ways. Teachers can access the professional development resources to help them deliver the program or She Maps can come to your school and deliver the incursion.

drones in classrooms
Students learning to fly drones at a CDE incursion

What makes drones great teaching tools?

Careers that incorporate digital skill sets are becoming more popular with young people who have grown up around rapidly evolving technology. A great option to introduce and encourage these pathways is through drones. They’re an exciting gateway for all students into STEM learning, and incorporate teaching opportunities in science, maths, digital technologies, engineering, and geography. Drones are being used in careers ranging from film and photography, surveying, architecture, and drone racing, offering opportunities in both creative and practical industries. 

Drones also provide opportunities for students to practise hand-eye coordination, learn to code, and develop important spatial thinking and problem-solving skills. These skills are all highly valued and sought after in the workforce. Drones have the wow factor needed to engage students who might otherwise be reluctant to participate in STEM subjects. Through the process of flying and programming drones, students are exposed to the real-world applications of STEM. The great thing is that they become so engrossed in flying that they don’t realise how much learning they are doing!

drone incursion primary school
Students participating in a She Maps drone incursion

Accessing new technologies - Customising your STEM program

Starting a classroom drone program at your school is easier when She Maps are there to help you through it. We provide teacher resources that incorporate the Australian curriculum to make digital careers more accessible to the younger generation and let students and teachers alike explore modern STEM through drones. The programs She Maps offers aim to improve the confidence and capability of teachers when it comes to new technology and the careers that can emerge from them, and we have resources for every budget. Simply select one of our Classroom Drone Essentials packages, choose your drone kit, and schedule a call with one of our teaching experts!

Our Getting Started with Drones in your Classroom e-book will run you through everything needed to set up an in-class drone program:

  • the educational benefits of drones
  • tips on garnering school wide support and funding
  • how to choose the best approach to suit your classes and curriculum targets, and
  • how to expand the program and offer your students industry connections and opportunities down the line. 
drones in schools
Students putting their manual flight skills to the test

By running professional learning workshops online and in-person, teaching through school incursions, and developing learning resources that fit into the Australian curriculum, She Maps strives to broaden typical worldviews of STEM and stress the importance of diverse perspectives in tackling problems. As technology rapidly evolves, we know it’s important to stay on top of developments and ensure we deliver the most current content.

If you would like to learn more about how to use drones at your school you can check out these articles. Or feel free to get in touch, we would love to help you get started.

6 Reasons Why Your School Should Host a She Maps Incursion

From Classroom Drones to STEM Futures – Career Opportunities for 21st Century Skills

Everything You Wanted to Know About Drones in the Classroom

About She Maps.

She Maps is Australia’s leading expert in drone and geospatial education. 

She Maps assist schools with the purchasing of drones, school-industry created drone and geospatial teaching resources and highly supportive teacher professional development.

You’re in Safe Hands!
She Maps is a CASA approved commercial operator to fly microdrones indoors with students and teachers. CASA holds commercial operators, to a higher standard than recreational users and educators. This means that She Maps has been assessed by CASA as having rigorous training and risk mitigation procedures in place.

Ready to buy drones for your school? We are an authorised DJI reseller in Australia

Want some help?

Schedule a call with one of our team members to get some personalised recommendations.
In this article:
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Stay up to date

    Subscribe by email and never miss a blog post or announcement.

    Try before you buy

    Take our resources for a spin and join the thousands of teachers who love our ready-to-teach classroom materials. Try one of our complete units of work for free.

    drones in forestry yr 5 6
    drones in forestry yr 9 10