The first year of middle school can be intimidating for many students. As an educator, it can be challenging to engage this unique group, especially when they’re getting used to the transition from elementary school to 6th grade.
Drones for 6th grade are an effective way for you to engage students in STEM learning. Drones aren’t just for science or math- they can be used as educational tools in any subject.
Want to learn more about our drone curriculum? Check it out here!
6th Grade STEM
The number of STEM schools across the country continues to grow. STEM education is especially beneficial in middle school as students begin thinking about their future career paths, and STEM education is crucial for preparing students for the future. Amazingly, over half of the fastest-growing careers are in STEM fields.
In 6th grade, students are learning a variety of concepts, including:
- Planning an investigation around energy transfer
- Analyzing changes in kinetic energy
- Comparing and contrasting texts in different forms
- Citing textual evidence to support analysis
- Evaluating design solutions in engineering and technology
- Using reasoning to solve ratio and rate problems
Let’s look at how drones in the classroom can engage students across all subjects.
STEM + Drones for 6th Graders
STEM education benefits 6th graders in many ways, but teaching STEM career skills is just as important. Learning how to fly a drone is necessary for a growing number of fields, from meteorology to law enforcement. Using drones in the classroom also teaches students useful skills through problem-based learning. Here’s how drones can be used in each subject.
6th Grade Science → Drones
In 6th grade science, students may be learning about everything from Earth and space science to engineering. Drones are a useful tool for helping students explore and understand the world.
They can also be used for a lesson about motion since they provide a real-life example of physics. When teaching students about motion, explain how the rotors allow the drone to move in different directions, hover, and turn.
6th Grade Math → Drones
In 6th grade math, students are applying their knowledge about multiplication, division, and equations. But they’re also starting to think statistically by looking at data distributions and measurements.
One way to incorporate several aspects of 6th grade math is to fly drones at different heights and speeds, then creating a table with the data. Allow students to analyze the performance of the drones and create their own math problems based on the data.
6th Grade Reading & Writing → Drones
A significant part of 6th grade reading and writing skills is the ability to integrate visual information, such as maps, with text. In 6th grade reading or writing, discuss geospatial skills and how drones are used to collect data for maps.
You can also use an informational text with maps to discuss this connection, then have students use drones to create their own map of your school. As extra practice, have students write their own informational text or hone their creative writing skills by describing the map they created.
6th Grade Art → Drones
Drones can be used to teach creative skills as well and have been used out in the world to create an impressive art display. Let students create their own art display using drones.
You might try having students collaborate on an art project. One student could create a drone routine by using different movements, while the other student creates a painting or drawing based on the movements.
6th Grade Standards & Drones
Standards matter when it comes to your curriculum. The challenge for many educators is creating lessons that align with the standards while also engaging students. Students love working with drones, and you can align drone learning with nearly any subject and standard.
Especially when it comes to STEM curriculum, it’s easy to connect drone usage to science, math, or engineering. Using drones in 6th grade classrooms provides an opportunity for students to learn how drones are used in the real world.
Drone Ideas for 6th Graders
Engaging students in drone learning doesn’t always have to include a structured lesson. You can also bring drones into the classroom by:
- Playing drone games
Take a break from structured learning to play fun and educational drone games. You can even make a day of it and hold a drone tournament at your school.
- Debate about it
There’s been a lot of discussion around where drones should be allowed and what rights drone pilots should have. Put your students’ critical thinking skills to the test and have them defend their side.
- Create a cross-curricular project
Bring drones and students together by choosing a cross-curricular project that requires them to apply skills they’ve learned in multiple subjects. One example would be to have students use their math skills to create a flight plan for the drone while also using their art skills to make each drone design unique.
- Playing drone games
Best Drones for 6th Graders
When bringing drones into the classroom, you have to determine what the best kinds of drones are. Safety comes first and there will be students who have never flown a drone before. The best drones for 6th graders are ones that are compact, such as the Tello drone. Mini drones can also be great for beginners. Overall, the drones you choose for 6th graders should be compact, lightweight, and easy to fly.
For more in-depth projects, it’s nice to have drones that are programmable or come with smartphone apps. The type of drone you choose will depend on how you’re using them.
Drones + 6th Grade = A Successful First Year
The first year of middle school may be intimidating, but whether you’re teaching science or art, drones can make your lessons more engaging for students.
Both you and the students may have fun flying drones, but they’re also preparing students for a bright future. It will require some creative classroom management to keep everyone safe, but the possibilities are endless when your students use drones to learn coding, design, and problem-solving skills.
Ready to bring drones to your 6th grade classroom? Contact us today!