Get Students Flying

Written by Guest Writer – Benjamin Lannen


Drones are now being used to deliver parcels, film videos, for competitive racing, to fight wars and even to create a light show at the Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony. So why aren’t you using this amazing technology in your classroom? Guest writer, Ben Lannen, shares with you some innovative ways to get started.


Integrating drones into the classroom has benefits in terms of engagement (off the charts!) but importantly it exposes them to a real world technology (don’t really see Beebots outside of schools!). Coding the drones through a series of activities, as shown below, has many direct learning benefits but also opens up a plethora of possibilities to build in cross curricular links.


Writing ideas to flow from drones include persuasive writing pieces on why drones should or should not be allowed to be flown around residential properties or even a narrative written with a drone pilot as the main character. I have found drones have allowed me to engage my students in more ways than simply coding and digital technologies.


I recommend the Parrot Drones as they are the most durable and cost effective solution for students. Using the Tynker app and Tickle app have been the most effective for coding and navigating drones in a classroom or play area space. Here are some of the most successful lessons I have tried with my students to integrate coding in the classroom, good luck and have fun:


Harry Potter Quidditch Angle Challenge

  1. Have 3 Hoola Hoops held up by fellow students at different angles to where the drone is positioned

  2. Using the Tickle app have students code using correct angles to direct drones through the Hoola Hoops for points.

Skills Developed:

  1. Drag and Drop coding

  2. Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed, Direction, Decimals


Drone Mini Golf Course

  1. Create a course in your room where students need to land their drone on “greens” in succession.

  2. Using the Tickle app have students code using correct angles to direct drones through the course to land on the “greens” of each hole.

Skills Developed:

  1. Drag and Drop coding

  2. Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed, Direction, Decimals

Drone Olympics (High Jump)

  1. Tickle App

  2. Set up a High Jump bar (meter ruler held by students)

  3. Have students compete and estimating the height of high jump bar

  4. Students to code the drone to ‘jump’ over it at the correct height.

  5. To challenge and extend students, have a 2nd bar slightly higher than the ‘high jump’ bar to create a ‘perfection’ zone for the drone to pass through. This smaller area narrows down the accuracy of the student’s estimation of height.

Skills Developed:

  1. Drag and Drop coding

  2. Estimation, Decimals, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed, Direction

Drone Photographer

  1. Students to code drones to take photos for a purpose

Skills Developed:

  1. Drag and Drop coding

  2. Photography, Art, Coding, Decimals, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed, Direction


Drone Lego Race

  1. Pick certain tables or spots in the room called ‘drop zones’. These could be tables, benches, bag tops, marks on floor etc.

  2. Students are to transport Lego men and women (Parrot drones have a Lego compatibility top) to a certain location in your classroom, unlink the Lego people, transport the drone back to home base, pick up next Lego person and repeat. The student or team who transports all of their Lego people first, or most at the end of a time limit, wins.

Skills Developed:

  1. Drag and Drop coding

  2. Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed, Direction, Decimals


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