Drone learning in STEM education combines technical skills with adventure. What could be more fun for middle school students than getting to experience the magic of drones? Through drone programs, students learn valuable skills. And when it comes to preparing students for the future, learning about drones sets middle school students up for success.
Drone technology is powerful enough to be used in films, law enforcement, and even planetary exploration on Mars. It’s worth exploring how drones can help middle school students prepare for higher education and careers. The right introduction to STEM through drones can make a significant impact on a student’s life.
Want to know what drones can do for your middle school class? Read on to learn more!
Middle School STEM
STEM education can help improve critical thinking skills and creativity while also promoting teamwork in your classroom. Combined with the technical skills students learn, it’s meant to prepare them for future careers. This education model can make a difference in the lives of students as they start to deeply think about what their future careers may look like.
In middle school, students learn to:
- Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules
- Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem
- Use properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions
- Apply scientific principles to design, build, and test a device
- Draw, construct, and describe geometrical figures
- Write informative and explanatory texts
Let’s look at how drone education can support these important concepts.
STEM + Drones for Middle School
One of the benefits of using drones in STEM education is experience-oriented learning. Students can dive in, learn to fly drones, and even code and program drones. They’re also able to build on these skills as they navigate the next subject.
Here’s how drones can support learning in various subjects for middle school students.
Middle School Math → Drones
In math, middle school students are expanding their knowledge of ratios, equations, and statistics. Drones are an effective way to teach students about formulas and geometric equations. One way is to calculate how fast a drone may need to go to reach a specific destination, or they may experiment with creating different flight patterns.
Middle School Science → Drones
Middle school science covers a range of topics from motion and stability to energy. Drones provide a real-life application for teaching motion and energy transfer.
For example, a teacher may show students how the drone doesn’t move until the controls are pressed. Then, show how the drone can move in different directions because of the outside force of the motor and propellers. Students can observe and practice moving and hovering the drone at different speeds, altitudes, and payloads.
Middle School Language Arts → Drones
In language arts, middle school students are practicing reading and writing skills with informative texts. Include drones in your language arts by starting with a news story about a topic such as lifeguards using drones to save lives. You might include a writing assignment by having students reflect on what they learned, or write about how they’d feel if a drone was sent to save them from drowning.
Middle School Art → Drones
Drones aren’t just for core subjects. They can also increase creativity in elective subjects like art and photography. Let students get creative with drones by assigning them a drone photography project. This allows students to look at the world from a different perspective, while also collaborating with other students and practicing their drone flying skills.
Drone Ideas for Middle School
Immersive learning with drones doesn’t always have to look like a structured lesson. Try engaging middle school students with drones with some of these ideas!
- Hosting a STEM tournament: STEM tournaments allow students to compete and work together. In tournaments, students are compelled to practice their critical thinking skills. Tournaments add a fun, competitive element, so let students express their interests and intensity through drone racing or an egg drop challenge.
- Watching drone footage: Drone footage is used in a lot of ways to help other people in the real world. Sometimes it’s to survey damage after a hurricane; sometimes it’s for military surveillance. Show students some real footage from a drone and discuss how it’s used in various fields, scenarios, and humanitarian efforts.
- Creating a short film: Drones are used frequently in the film industry because they can reach places humans can’t and still obtain some impressive angles. Allow students to try this out by creating their own short films with camera drones.
Best Drones for Middle School
If you’re planning on using drones in your middle school classroom, you might wonder which drones are the best for education. For middle school students, choose a drone that is:
- Easy to fly
- Safe for indoor use
The Tello EDU drone, for example, is a programmable drone designed specifically for STEAM education. It can also take pictures and record videos. Each type of drone has different features, so choosing the right drone for your classroom depends on how you’ll use them.
Middle School Standards and Drones
As an educator, aligning classroom lessons to educational standards is critical. But that doesn’t mean direct instruction is the only way to teach. STEM education provides an opportunity for students to see how each subject fits into their world, and drones can offer real-world insight for students.
When middle schoolers work on STEM activities together, they’re building valuable skills that can’t always be taught through a lecture. That’s why an effective drone program should be mission-based, hands-on, and equipped for teamwork. Through middle school drone missions, students have to collaborate— they learn to build their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Drones Prepare Students for Success
Not all middle school students know what they want to do when they grow up. At this age, however, they are starting to get curious about their futures. Middle school is a great time for students to learn about their strengths and talents, and teachers need to encourage them to learn valuable new skills.
Drone pilots are in such high demand today that teaching students how to fly drones opens up a world of possibilities for their future. Learning STEM concepts through drones benefits students mentally and socially, even if they’re not sure what career they want to pursue yet.
Students love our mission-based drone program. Reach out to discover how it can impact the students at your middle school!