Encouraging children to take an active interest in STEM subjects from a young age is crucial. The next generation of research relies on people pursuing science and technology subjects throughout their education and honing their skills so they are ready to push the boundaries of innovation in the future.
Sometimes, getting interest in STEM subjects easier said than done
Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Young children, in particular, often see STEM subjects as boring and they don’t engage with the core concepts easily. There are also issues with gender divides in STEM. Moreover, it’s especially important to encourage young girls to get interested in STEM.
Many educators find that using practical activities to demonstrate the core concepts is a good way to pique the interest of young children. Using exciting new technology that is recognizable to young people is also a good way to make the subjects more relatable. Drones tick both of those boxes and they’re one of the best tools we have at our disposal when trying to encourage more people into STEM subjects. These are some of the big benefits of teaching STEM subjects using drones.
Explains core STEM concepts in a practical way
One of the main problems that teachers have when trying to engage young children in STEM subjects is explaining abstract concepts. The math and science behind drones can be hard for young children to understand. However, using drones allows them to get up close and personal with technology that works on a similar principle. Drones allow them to explore all of the STEM concepts in a practical way with the added bonus of being engaging and fun.
Things like aerodynamics and air resistance, for example, are key concepts needed to fly a drone. By explaining exactly how the drone is able to fly and move around, you can give a practical example of these concepts. It’s also a good opportunity to explain radio waves and how the remote control works. When you explain these abstract concepts in a classroom, a lot of young kids switch off. But when they see them in action and they are in control, it’s a lot more engaging.
Gives hands-on engineering experience
Drones give children the opportunity to see engineering in action and get hands-on experience while they’re learning about it.
An example of this would be building their own drone and showing them how drones are made up of different parts. It may work better with older children, but it’s a good chance to show just what engineers do on a practical level, and the scale they work at as well. Drones are an excellent introduction to the world of engineering because they highlight just how much work and precision goes into creating something that is so small.
Drones are excellent at boosting children’s creativity and innovative thinking. It’s not just the drones themselves that get creative juices flowing, but also how they use them.
For example, researchers in Florida have used drones to monitor sea turtles and learn more about their behavior. Drones allow biologists to work in a whole new way. They can fly over the nesting sites to find out more about how often they come back, as well as what the turtles do when they are alone.
The drones also boost their safety because it means that researchers don’t have to go into the water so often. Teaching them about these innovative uses for drones can demonstrate how basic scientific concepts can be creatively applied to solve real-world problems.
The act of flying drones themselves is also a good way for young children to explore the world in a creative way. They can use them to take aerial photos of landscapes, for example, and play around with photography.
Check out the drone buying guide at drdrone.ca to find some of the best drones for aerial photography. Although this may not be directly related to STEM, creativity is a vital part of the research process. Learning those skills is vital for people that eventually move into science and research.
Encourages problem-solving skills
Flying a drone requires advanced problem-solving skills. First, you have to know what you want from a flight. You should also be able to identify why the drone isn’t doing that. A big part of this is learning about obstacles like buildings, trees, and other features.
What happens when the drone crashes? Is there anything nearby that could cause damage? How can you avoid crashing and still achieve the desired goal? These are all questions that children have to ask themselves when learning to fly a drone.
If they can answer these questions, it’s a huge step towards becoming a good problem solver and critical thinker. This is all happening in real-time and the pilot needs to make split-second decisions. Therefore, it’s a great way to hone those problem-solving skills.
Introduces coding skills
Some drones have programming features that are great for teaching kids about coding. The drones record the flight paths and then show them how to recreate that path as a code. This is a lot more fun than just writing it down or typing it. You can use this as an introduction to simple coding languages and slowly work into more advanced computer science lessons in later years.
There are also some exciting initiatives using drones to change the way that computers operate. The internet will work hand-in-hand with that in the future. Although Facebook’s internet-providing drone program has shut down for now, more companies are exploring the same technology.
Coding can be a very daunting subject to start with. This is especially true as it takes a lot of work before you have anything tangible to show for it. As a result, young kids often switch off before they really get to grips with it.
This is why games and toys are often used as an introduction, and drones can be great here. When they can program the flight path of a drone and then let it fly on its own, they can see the effects of their coding and see where they have made mistakes.
Coding skills are vital for all young people. In the future, a lot of career paths will require at least basic knowledge, so this is a huge benefit of drone learning.
Drones aren’t just for taking great photos or racing. They can be an invaluable tool for getting young people potentially showing interest in STEM subjects.