When students learn they’re going to be using programming to control drones, their faces light up. Connected toys are great for teaching programming and bringing STEM learning to life. Drones allow students to visualize their code and use programming to solve real-world challenges–and they’re also super fun and engaging for the whole class!
That’s why Tynker is hosting a Parrot Drone Giveaway. You can enter to win one of 50 drones for your classroom.
Students are naturally curious and excited about experimentation, so drones offer a chance to learn by solving concrete problems and experimenting with hands-on activities. The exciting thing about STEM is that you’re teaching a new way to understand and interact with the world around them. Drones make STEM learning relevant and fun by allowing students to become creators of technology and by allowing them to collaborate, build off each others’ creative ideas, and share enthusiasm. They show students they can use the sometimes abstract concepts they learn in class to engineer solutions to real problems. Students come away from these experiences having engaged more deeply with the STEM concepts from class and inspired to continue learning.
How to Teach with Drones
We recommend having students solve the Crash Course puzzle set on the Tynker app before they start programming. After that, you should allow them to work together to create a program to control the drone. Depending on how many drones your class has, you can break into smaller groups or work as a class to complete a programming challenge.
Learn the Basics
First, your students can learn the basics of programming connected toys by completing at least 10 levels of the puzzle set Crash Course. These fun puzzles teach important concepts including specific commands that can be used to control connected toys as well as basic programming skills like sequencing and repetition.
Create Something Awesome
Ask your students to make a full controller for the drone by giving them increasingly challenging tasks to build up to a complicated project. Here are some starter activities:
- Program the drone to fly up, then fly back down and land. This teaches basic sequencing and conditional statements to control when the drone should fly up or down.
- Program the drone to fly up, complete a flip, then fly back down and land. This teaches more advanced sequencing, as well as additional commands that can be used with the drone, like the “flip” block.
- Program the drone to fly up, complete a full turn, then fly back down and land. To program the turn, students need to use a “repeat” block to gradually turn the drone in one direction. This teaches how to use loops in programming.
- Create a full controller for the drone that includes taking off, landing, and performing tricks like flying in a square or a zig zag pattern. This teaches messaging and more advanced applications of loops and conditional statements.
Beyond this, the sky is the limit! You’ll be amazed by what your students can build.
Let us know if you have any recommendations for how you use drones to support STEM learning, and don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a Parrot drone for your classroom!