How to run a Tournament of Drones at your school

Katie Vidal
Katie Vidal
16 Aug 2022
She Maps Tournament of Drones linkedin

Competitive STEM challenges with drones

A Tournament of Drones is a competition where teams will challenge themselves to solve real-life problems with drones.

This one-day event sees teams race through an obstacle course to dock their spaceship, become a rescue drone in an emergency situation, and use their coding and problem-solving skills in a simulated beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) scenario.

For many schools, running a Tournament of Drones at the end of the year is the opportunity to bring all the skills they’ve learnt into one fun and engaging event.  

This competition can be run as an in-school event or as an inter-school competition, where the local schools compete to find out which school has the best team of drone pilots!

When it comes to running a Tournament of Drones, there is a fair bit of organisation involved, but She Maps, have done all the hard work for you and created the Ultimate Tournament of Drones Pack!

Tournament of Drones 1

What is in the Tournament of Drones Resource pack?

The Tournament of Drones Resource Pack provides schools with everything you need to run a successful one day drone competition. The resources have all been designed to be used whether it is a competition just between students at your school, or if you send the call out to neighbouring schools.  

Classroom Drone Essentials

It is recommended that all participants, both teachers and students, have completed the Classroom Drone Essentials Unit of Work and Teacher Professional Learning in order to understand the safety requirements and complete the challenges involved in the Tournament of Drones. 

This series of lessons provides all participants with the skills needed to successfully participate in the competition.  If you are already a She Maps Member you already have access to the program.  If you are interested in completing a Classroom Drone Essentials, click on the image below to find out more information.

How do I get started with drones?

So you’re interested in being a part of the Tournament of Drones, but you have no experience with drones in the classroom.

Take a look at the following articles they will give you more information about drones and introducing them to the classroom:

Click on the button below to see more of what She Maps has to offer.

Teacher Resource pack

This resource provides you with everything you need to run your Tournament of Drones successfully.  Take a look at all the resources available!

The teachers pack includes:

  • teacher manual
  • activity sheets
  • checklist (to keep you on task)
  • scoring sheets
  • judging criteria
  • advertising poster
  • social media
  • graphics
  • emails and media release
  • safety posters
  • signage

Get ready to compete!

The Tournament is a one-day event, designed to test students’ teamwork, problem-solving skills, creativity, technical flight skills, and analytical thinking. 

Working in teams of 3, participants rotate around 3 real world challenges and finish the day with a persuasive digital storytelling task. 

Challenge 1: Space Race (Obstacle Course)

How quickly can your drone pilots manoeuvre through a series of obstacles to land on an asteroid? 

Obstacle courses can be made from a variety of resources, you don’t need a specially designed series of structures.  Get creative with hula hoops, pool noodles, or other building materials. 

Can they complete the course in under 2 minutes?

Encouragement, support, and reassurance will help your pilots to take on this challenge.

space race she maps tournament of drones

Challenge 2: Drones to the Rescue 

A fire has broken out in your local area and you have been asked, as part of the emergency services, to provide assistance with bringing it under control by releasing simulated fire retardant pellets. 

The Tello drone does not come with attachments that can release an item, but She Maps got creative and found a 3D printed cup attachment that can hold small items (tic tacs, smarties etc).

The challenge is to fly as close to the targeted area, using manual flight, and forward flip the drone to release your fire retardant pellets. 

A spotter, from the team, is positioned to be able to give advice on where the drone should be positioned before it performs its flip release.

tod floor plan drones to the rescue She Maps

Challenge 3: Code Conundrum 

A container ship has run aground out to sea.  Debris from the ship has washed ashore along the coastline and  teams  have  been  asked  to  collect  images  to record where it is.  This will allow Coastwatch to organise a safe and effective collection of the debris. 

The catch is that teams cannot see the image, only the drone.  This is called beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).  It means that pilots will need to use their problem solving skills with their knowledge of coding drones to be able to create a successful flight.  A screen or even a table flipped on its side helps to create the BVLOS challenge.

She Maps tod floor plan code conundrum

Challenge 4: Digital Storytelling

This challenge may be provided to your teams before the day of battle.  Students collect images/videos and information to help them create a 2 minute persuasive digital story presentation. 

The objective is to persuade other schools to have a drone program as part of their learning. This video should show some creativity and student flair on how drones are being used in your school, why they are a tool for the future,  what  problems  they  could  solve….  The options  are  endless. The aim is to see how BIG your school is thinking on the use of drones.

Take a look at the following winning entry from Trinity Bay State School in a previous competition. 

trinty bay state school tournament of drones winners play button
Winner - Tournament of Drones - Trinity Bay State School

Managing the Tournament of Drones

Each of the above activities or stations is set up, ideally in a large hall/gym.  Make sure the drones are being flown away from the centre of the room and the teams stay in the allocated pilot zones while flying.

You will need extra support from other drone wranglers (ie staff/adults) to help make sure the day runs smoothly, including volunteers to help with registration, judges and station managers.

All teams must be registered and a safety briefing should be completed so that all participants have an understanding of their roles and responsibilities throughout the day. Once all the paperwork is completed it is time to start your day!

Each team will rotate around each station. Special Note: Drones to the Rescue and Space Race are considered one station as they both can be completed in one rotation.

We recommend three to four teams per station, and this will allow you to complete the activities in each station within the allocated time of 60 minutes.

Tournament of Drones Floorplan

tournament of drones floor plan from she maps

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.
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