Drones are on the rise (excuse the pun!). In fact, it’s hard to think of an industry in which drones are not being used, for example, drones are being used in delivery, emergency rescue, law enforcement, firefighting, medical, farming, photography, wildlife conservation, environmental monitoring, forestry, film production, 3D Mapping, real estate, construction, surveying, and the list goes on.
The exciting part about the ‘rise of drones’ is that it’s creating new and exciting future career opportunities for the next generation. One of my favourites is ‘Swarm Artist’. No, it’s not about bees, but actually drone choreography for light shows. If only this existed when I was going up.
What we do know is that almost all primary school students have expressed interest in pursuing real careers. They role play careers and you hear them talk about what they want to be when they grow up. This suggests that primary school students’ aspirations for careers can (and do) start early in life so the earlier we expose them to different careers and role models the better.
The challenge however, is maintaining and nurturing these early aspirations, particularly in STEM careers, so they become a reality. By embedding experiences of the real world in the classroom early, through the power of storytelling, teachers can motivate students to increase educational attainment and empower them to confidently choose specialist subjects in secondary school that relate to their future career choice.
Knowing this, I set out to find what children’s books were available to teach primary school students about potential career pathways with drones. Ideally, the books had to portray female role models (less than 30% of drone pilots are women) and have teaching resources available to make it easy to bring the story into the classroom.
Having scoured the internet, I found only one book that truly hit the brief. Pippa & Dronie, shares stories of real-life, inspiring female role models doing amazing things with drones and forging pathways for women in the drone industry. The book is freely available on all online book stores, but if you purchased the book directly from the website, you also automatically receive five free supporting teacher activities (Australian Curriculum Linked). There is also an option to purchase a Big Book, Dronie plushie and Image mat. But it didn’t stop there, you can also download DRONIE, the Block Coding Game which supports the book. It is freely available on Apple and Google play, and designed to engage students in an immersive learning experience.
I found other children’s books about drones, other than the Drone Girl Series, these books tended to focus on drone safety, which, don’t get me wrong, is super important, but not as aspirational as Pippa & Dronie or The Drone Girl Series in my opinion.
Here is a synopsis of all the books I discovered, with short descriptions from Amazon and associated links to find out more.
by Paul Mead (Author), Sarah Davies (Illustrator)
Pippa and Dronie is a beautifully illustrated book for young readers aged 5 to 9, celebrating diversity in STEM, drones and geospatial science. The book introduces children to six real-life female role models doing amazing things in their work with drones. As they travel around Australia, Pippa and Dronie gain confidence as they help our female scientists to gather data to help solve real-world challenges.
If you are a teacher and purchase the book directly on www.pippaanddronie.com, you will automatically be sent 5 free lessons and information about the app, Dronie, which complements the story and teaches basic block coding.
by Wendy Erikson (Author)
Best friends Erica and Lindsey like reading about the good things drones can do to help people and animals. Drones can drop life preservers to struggling swimmers and also help deliver medicine in some parts of the world. One of their favorite stories is how scientists use drones to check a whale’s health, by getting snot samples! The girls dream of piloting their own drones and are thrilled when their birthday wishes come true. They quickly discover how much more they must learn about drone safety before they can fly.
by Wendy Erikson (Author)
A fun story book sure to inspire future aviators! Best friends Erica and Lindsey love flying drones, or what some people call “flying robots”. When the girls find out about a drone competition at a local air show they can’t wait to enter. On the big day, not only do they get a chance to show off their skills but also discover flying comes with some awesome pilot opportunities in the sky and even outer space.
You can also purchase the English & Spanish versions of the books directly from the Women and Drones website.
Book 1: Photos from the Sky
Leah loves to take pictures but is frustrated by the limited subjects and ground-based view of her neighborhood. Until… Leonardo the Drone comes into her life! As Leah learns to fly her new drone, she gets excited again about entering her pictures in the library’s photo contest. Together Leonardo and Leah take amazing photos and videos from the sky that view the world from a whole new angle. Includes a QR code to launch a website that shows Leonardo’s actual drone photos and videos. Back matter includes drone safety, regulations, and photography tips.
Anika is working hard to build her new drone, but it’s much more complicated than she thought. There’s lots of parts to assemble and programming to do… she needs a little help! Her family is so busy though, they all have work, studies or things to do. How will Anika build her drone? With bright, colourful illustrations, this is a great way to teach children the importance of STEM subjects, being inquisitive, as well as patience and determination. To help overcome stereotyping, the story features girls coding, mothers as working professionals, dad’s that work from home and mixed families.
Frizzy’s enthusiasm to fly his dragon causes him to ignore Panda’s teaching and make some dangerous decisions. Help kids understand that there are safety rules that must be followed all the time. Give kids a reason to aspire to get drone education and become better students.
Panda the Drone Safety Bear helps get kids excited to learn STEM technology through drones.
by La’Quata Sumter (Author)
“Flying Drones with Jaxon” offers potential drone pilots a quick guide to drone technology. This book covers terms, usage along with some drone laws and regulations. There are also inserts to test the learner’s knowledge of drone technology. This book is a great starter book to learn about drone technology.
by Shanda McCloskey (Author)
Lucas has a new best friend when he brings T-Bone the Drone home from the store. They enjoy playing, flying, and even recharging together–but Lucas has been spending so much time with his new toy that he’s on the sidelines when he tries to join the neighborhood Wiffle ball game. When the ball sails over the fence where a scary dog lives, it’s the perfect opportunity for Lucas and T-Bone to do what friends do best: work together! It turns out that they’ll need help from the whole team, though, to save the day…
Let’s welcome Buddy the Drone! This is the first of Buddy’s many exciting adventures in which he surprises us with his special qualities and capabilities.Buddy’s wish to help out people makes him an invaluable friend in any situation.
Welcome back Buddy the Drone!
His wish to help out people makes Buddy an invaluable friend in any situation. In this, his second adventure, Buddy helps with the rescue after a river overflows threatening a nearby town.
by Chris Mather (Author)
Flying drones can be exciting and a lot of fun, and even young kids can do it – as long as they know the fundamental drone safety rules, like keeping away from cars, roads, airports, and people, or not flying at night. That’s why one dad decides to teach drone safety to his children, and the great drone adventure begins! Recommended for kids aged 5 to 12 & young kids who love to fly drones.
If you enjoyed this article, then you might want to read the following articles:
- How to use Pippa & Dronie for teaching STEM in Primary/Elementary Schools
- Inspire Kids to Study STEM Education with Pippa and Dronie
If you are looking for inspiration and an example of how teachers are using drones in the early years, then we highly recommend this article:
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- Free STEM Education Guide – Understanding and Implementing STEM Programs in your classroom – Read now
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