There are a million ways to engage students with STEM learning, but when you turn it into a competition, you reach a new level of engagement and excitement. STEM tournaments in school are an excellent way for kids of all ages to build critical skills and have fun too!

There’s a time and a place for structured learning in the classroom. But as STEM education continues to grow, educators see the benefits of applying hands-on learning and out-of-the-box thinking to help students become curious about the world.

Drones in the classroom are a great way to teach students STEM skills. Find out how our drone curriculum can benefit your school!

What is a STEM Tournament?

STEM tournaments allow students to use their critical thinking skills and creativity to solve problems based on science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM tournaments usually include a series of competitions requiring students to put on their thinking caps to solve problems creatively. So put your students to the test and see if they can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to these fun competitions!

Students may collaborate with a team in some competitions or work independently in others. In both cases, they’re applying technical skills, using critical thinking, and developing empathy as they learn to work alongside other students.

Best Competitions for STEM Tournaments

Friendly competitions are a great way to encourage learning and growth within your school community. Whether you’re looking for a shorter competition for your class or planning a full-day STEM tournament, consider using these competitions to enhance your students’ learning.

Egg Drop Challenge

The egg drop challenge is a classic competition and a terrific way to make STEM learning engaging for students. For this challenge, students will build a contraption to protect their egg and see if it can survive a long drop. Kids can get creative with their designs, and the goal is to keep the egg from cracking! Typically, someone drops the contraption from a rooftop or a ladder, but to make the drop a bit more exciting (and to keep anyone from climbing a ladder!), you can lift and launch the egg using a drone that can flip instead, like the Tello drone. It’s important to note that each drone model has a different payload or weight it can handle. The payload depends on the type of drone, so be sure to look into the specifics before choosing a drone for this challenge.

Dancing Drones

Kids love dance competitions! But have they ever experienced a synchronized drone dancing competition? Students combine their creativity with technology by thinking of specific moves for the drones to do together. Drones, music, and creativity make for a thrilling competition that will allow students to practice their programming and other technical skills while adding in their unique flair.


The Build-a-Bridge competition can teach students about different structures and allow them to use problem-solving to develop the most effective design. The goal is for students to learn about different structures and compare them to find the most effective way to make a paper bridge from the provided materials. Usually, a judge would test the bridges using pennies to see if the bridge holds. But in this case, you could land a drone on the bridge instead to test its strength!

Drone Race

Racing drones is a fun competition for students and is pretty easy to set up at your school. With a drone race, you can keep it as simple as a head-to-head race, or you can get more creative and implement different elements, such as doing a Capture the Flag-type race. It’s easy to host these types of races indoors, typically in a gymnasium. Since races can get pretty competitive, you can have students race the clock instead of each other.

Drone Search & Rescue Missions

Search and rescue missions are a great use of drones in schools and allow students to experience a small-scale version of a real-life scenario. This competition allows students to show off the technical skills they’ve learned, and it also allows them to discover how professionals use similar technical skills in the real world. As drone technology advances, drones are used in more public safety situations and are crucial to search and rescue in the real world. This fun competition is an excellent opportunity to discuss how heroes use drones to save lives.

Drones + Competition = A Blast of Fun!

Not all tournaments were created equal. A successful STEM tournament is going to take careful planning and help from some adults who are passionate about STEM! Including drones in your STEM tournament is a great way to keep students excited about learning. Even with competitions that wouldn’t typically include drones, adding them in can be an exciting twist! 

But drones are more than just a fun thing to race, although racing them is fun! Drones help students practically apply what they’ve learned in subjects such as math and can instill confidence in students as well.

Learning how to fly a drone is easy, so let kids test their skills in a STEM tournament.

Check out our programs today to learn how to include drones in your STEM tournament!