Pippa and Dronie: Teaching STEM in Primary Schools

Katie Vidal
Katie Vidal
11 Aug 2022
Pippa and Dronie poster

STEM education with drones

Pippa & Dronie is an illustrated children’s book that takes students on an adventure with real scientists and drone professionals, to explore different ways modern STEM skills are used to gather data, and solve real world challenges. 

Written by Paul Mead and illustrated by Sarah Davies this book features six real women doing amazing things, with an aim to capture the attention of your students with these amazing role models.

Dronie flies through whale snot to collect DNA samples (urgh yuck, but kinda cool), maps coral on the Great Barrier Reef, and in Kakadu National Park a crocodile even tries to jump up and grab her!

Beginner drone program for schools

She Maps designed the Pippa and Dronie resources to be used by any primary classroom teacher as an integrated STEM education unit.

The lesson sequence includes Australian Curriculum linked activities that have include the following key learning areas:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS), concentrating on Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Technologies (Digital and Design)
  • Science
  • The Arts
  • Health and PE
  • English
The Pippa and Dronie unit is flexible enough to be used as a week-long focus, a 5-week program or over a full term. It contains a series of lessons that can be used all together as a full unit or you can pick and choose different lessons, depending on your class. The unit has been designed to be flexible with enough variety to get students thinking about the use of drones in many different jobs and that gender plays no role in the type of career that you choose to follow.
Pippa and dronie at the beach

What does a scientist look like?

Pippa and Dronie want to help classes from Foundation to Year 4 explore the question “What does a scientist look like?”

Each character within the story allows students to discover that science is more than just lab coats and microscopes with curriculum linked activities that are all assessable against the Australian Curriculum achievement standards.

This book will take readers on an adventure to discover Australia and how drones are being used in different ways to help our world.

  • Study drone photographs 
  • Learn about how drones collect whale snot
  • How do you use a drone on the Great Barrier Reef?
  • Looking at real drone data in GeoNadir in Kakadu National Park
  • Using drones on Yawuru Country to help look for invasive weeds
  • Finding fault lines with drones

STEM education resources that add value

Pippa and Dronie curriculum linked lesson sequence uses StoryMaps for F-2 and 3-4 to lead teachers and students through all 13 lessons.

Stopping in different locations throughout Australia to visit a new scientist, students learn something new about drones and are involved in activities that take them inside the narrative.

If all elements of the unit sequence are taught, students will:
  • Examine stereotypes of scientists and what they do
  • Visualise and design what they think scientists look like and what they do
  • Predict text and story and interact with the Pippa and Dronie book
  • Describe drone picture elements
  • Identify the changes in the seasons
  • Explore the Yawuru seasons compared to English-defined seasons
  • View Australian earthquake data
  • Explore design ideas for a drone project
  • Design a labelled diagram of a drone
  • Explore materials to create a 3D model of drone
  • Design and test code to navigate Dronie around an image mat in an unplugged mission
  • Interact with the Dronie app to complete simulated drone missions.

StoryMaps to enhance the learning

Two StoryMaps (one for Years F-2 and one for Years 3-4) accompany the unit. These guide your students through the activities and provide a fun way to explore the story. Scroll through the embedded StoryMaps below now for a preview.

Hands on block coding with drones

How do you introduce coding to lower and middle primary?  You provide them with an unplugged activity that allows them to interact directly with the material and get hands on!

Use the free printable’s to allow your students to physically manipulate the coding blocks.   They can lay out the code on the floor so they can visualise where they are going.

Once they have developed their fundamental skills you can introduce them to the Dronie app.

Coding in primary STEM

Introducing coding to your students may feel a little daunting, but Dronie will help to create a learning environment that is easier to understand.

Dronie is a multi-level block coding game, where Dronie travels around Australia doing important work, just like they do in the book!

The first couple of levels are great for early primary students, with the later levels being a good challenge for late primary students.

Head to the Apple App Store,  Google Play Store or your favourite browser and start coding today.

Dronie is waiting for you to take her on an adventure!

pippa and dronie app

STEM poster set

To help immerse your class in the story of Pippa and Dronie take a look at the full set of character posters.  

These posters include:

  • Illustrated and real-life version of the character
  • A short description of their job

Use them as part of a physical display in your classroom or digitally for a lesson.

She Maps pippa & dronie a4 poster all web page 1
She Maps pippa & dronie a4 poster all web page 5
She Maps pippa & dronie a4 poster all web page 6
She Maps pippa & dronie a4 poster all web page 2
She Maps pippa & dronie a4 poster all web page 4
She Maps pippa & dronie a4 poster all web page 3

Pippa and Dronie classroom kit

Here is what you will find in a small Pippa and Dronie classroom kit:

  • 5 x Pippa and Dronie Books
  • 1 x Pippa and Dronie Big Book
  • 1 x Image Mat Single
  • Dronie Plushie
  • Teaching Resources (11 Lessons, Rubric and Activity Sheets)
  • Dronie Coding Game App
  • Dronie Coding Game Web-based
  • Coding Game Printables
  • Author Reading – Video
pippa & dronie bundles small

Medium and large classroom kits are also available.

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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