Drones are begin increasingly used in STEM teaching. They offer the opportunity to help educate students on a broad range of topics, including coding, engineering, mathematics and science, whilst also becoming a more common technology in our everyday lives. Here are four ways in which you can use drones to teach children science.
1. The Microscope Analogy
One of the simplest ways in which you can use a drone to help teach science is to use it as an analogy for a microscope. You can control the drone’s height as it flies, enabling you to create a ‘zoom’ effect with the camera.
“This is a fantastic technique to use, particularly when teaching biology,” says Mary Arndt, a tutor at Writinity and Research papers UK. “You can ask students to create large scale models outdoors of all different types of cells. From creating cell structures, to creating neurons or even cross-sections of leaves, using the drone, you will be able to capture an aerial view of the student-made structure.”
You can extend this further by asking students to create other models too. It can be particularly fun to have groups of students compete against each other to create models within set time limits and use the drone to determine which group created the most accurate model or structure.
2. Explore The Local Environment
Drones offer a brilliant method for exploring the local environment and engaging in discussions and teaching about the environment and sustainability. You can fly the drone over your local area and use the camera to video or photograph the area below. From the images or video gathered, you can gain a better understanding of the vegetation and terrain in your locality.
Using the images and video gathered by the drone, you can then ask students to identify different types of vegetation or even ask them to try to identify different tree species. Alternatively, you can create maps of the local area with your students. As part of this exercise, you can use the images to compare areas of natural, undisturbed vegetation against urban areas and encourage students to observe and discuss the environmental impact of urban development.
Photo by Stephan Müller from Pexels.
3. Create A Solar System Model
You may be accustomed to doing outdoor lessons about the solar system, using students or objects to stand in for planets. With the help of a drone however, you can create these large-scale outdoor solar systems and have the drone take photographs. Make sure that you mark out the correct relative distances between each of the planets and the sun.
Another great way to extend students’ learning is to have the drone fly to each of the planets in turn starting from Earth. Students can then measure the length of time it takes for the drone to reach each of the various planets. In this way, they can begin to get a better understanding of how long it might take real spacecraft to travel to each of the planets in our solar system and the implications this has for space exploration and travel.
4. Teach Key Physics Principles
If you’re looking to explore key principles of physics, then drones offer a fantastic resource, allowing students to explore these concepts in action. In particular, drones offer a great opportunity to learn about thrust, lift, drag and angular momentum.
“By flying the drone, students can explore the different ways in which it flies and moves. Ask students to observe and explain how the drone is able to fly, not only vertically, but also horizontally and how it’s able to turn. You can also ask them to explain how the spinning blades of the rotors work and which forces are at work when they do,” suggests John Shaffer, a tech blogger at Draft beyond and Last minute writing.
Drones provide some great opportunities to engage students in science learning. However, before starting to fly, make sure that you check all the local laws that apply to your area. Ensure you also follow all relevant guidelines and requirements and that you carry out a risk assessment to ensure that any activity you undertake is safe. Using drones, you can explore many key topics and concepts in science. So, take to the sky to enthuse and engage students in their learning.
About the Author:
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Coursework writing service and Gumessays.com. She has been involved in numerous projects throughout the country, including using technology to support teaching and learning. When not writing, Ashley regularly attends business training courses, where she enjoys staying up-to-date with the latest trends. A mother of two children, Ashley enjoys traveling and reading in her spare time.