How to use drones with elementary students

Drones are becoming increasingly popular in the field of education, and elementary technology classes are no exception. These unmanned aerial vehicles provide students with a unique learning experience that is both fun and educational. Not only do they enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills, but they also prepare students for future job opportunities. In this article, we will explore ways to use drones in elementary technology, recommended drones, and best practices for teaching drone technology in the classroom. We will also cover safety and legal guidelines for drone use in schools, and provide hands-on activities and lesson plans for incorporating drone technology into the curriculum.


Are drones safe to use in elementary schools?

Yes, drones can be safe to use in elementary schools as long as proper safety precautions are taken, and guidelines are followed. Teachers should always supervise drone use, ensure that students understand the safety rules, and have a designated flying area.

Do I need a license to fly a drone in an elementary school?

According to FAA regulations, anyone operating a drone for educational purposes does not need a license as long as they are flying within a designated area and following safety guidelines. Pilots may fly for non-recreational purposes without further FAA authorization if they possess a small UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) rating certificate issued by the FAA, operate under the Part 107 regulations. Regardless of the regulations, it is recommended that teachers receive proper training before using drones in the classroom. These licenses aren’t difficult to get, you will just need to pass a multiple choice exam through the Federal Aviation Administration on drone regulations, safety guidelines, air traffic, weather, and the general use of drones.

Mini drones, quadcopters, and fixed-wing drones are all suitable for elementary technology classes. Mini drones are the most affordable and easy to use and are ideal for young students. Quadcopters are more advanced and offer more features, such as cameras and GPS, while fixed-wing drones are great for teaching aerodynamics and engineering.

How can drones be integrated with other subjects besides technology?

Drones can be integrated with other subjects such as science, math, art, and design. For example, students can collect and analyze data from drone flights for science and math projects. Art students can use drones to create aerial artwork, while design students can learn about the design principles of drones and how they are engineered.

Introduction to Drones in Elementary Technology Classes

Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles that can be remotely controlled, have become increasingly popular in recent years. With the growing interest in drone technology, it’s worth considering how drones can be incorporated into elementary technology classes. This article offers guidance on how to use drones in the classroom, the benefits of incorporating them into learning, and which drones are most suitable for elementary education.

Drones provide a unique opportunity to engage students in a hands-on learning experience that exposes them to cutting-edge technology. Additionally, with the rise of the drone industry, there is an increased demand for skilled workers capable of operating drones. Teaching drone technology in elementary school can lay the foundation for future career opportunities while also fostering a love for technology and innovation.

Benefits of Incorporating Drones in Classroom Learning

Enhancing Student Engagement and Learning Outcomes

Incorporating drones into classroom learning can increase student engagement and motivation. It provides a hands-on experience where students can see the real-world applications of what they are learning. This provides a fun and interactive approach that makes learning exciting and memorable.

Improving Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

When flying a drone, students have to think critically and solve problems in real-time. They must consider different variables, such as wind direction, altitude, and positioning, to control the drone successfully. Therefore, incorporating drone technology in elementary school can strengthen students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Preparation for Future Job Opportunities

The use of drones is becoming increasingly prevalent in various industries, including filmmaking, agriculture, and construction. Integrating drones into elementary technology classes can prepare students who are interested in pursuing careers in these industries and related fields.

Types of Drones Suitable for Elementary Technology Classes

Mini Drones

Mini drones are small, lightweight, and inexpensive. They are easy to operate and maneuver, making them perfect for young students. Furthermore, they are relatively safe to use indoors, making them ideal for classroom use.


Quadcopters, with four propellers in a cross shape, are popular because they are versatile and easy to fly. They can be flown indoors or outdoors, and some models come with cameras that allow students to capture footage from the drone’s perspective.

Fixed Wing Drones

Fixed-wing drones, like traditional airplanes, fly through the air using wings rather than rotors. They tend to be more expensive and challenging to operate than mini-drones or quadcopters. Thus, fixed-wing drones are better suited to older students who have more experience with drone technology and are ready for a more advanced challenge.

Best Practices for Teaching Drone Technology in Elementary Schools

Planning for Drone Use in the Classroom

Before introducing drones into the classroom, it is crucial to carefully plan and prepare. This involves identifying the learning goals, assessing the suitability of the activity, and obtaining the necessary approvals.

Teaching Drone Safety and Maintenance

It is essential to teach students about drone safety and maintenance to prevent accidents and prolong the life of the drone. This includes identifying potential hazards, taking appropriate safety measures, and conducting regular check-ups to ensure drones are in good condition.

Collaboration and Group Work with Drones

Collaboration and group work are essential when introducing drones to the classroom. Activities such as building and programming drones in groups can promote teamwork and cooperation, as well as foster creativity and innovation. By working together, students learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses, becoming better problem solvers and critical thinkers.

Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they are now being used in a variety of settings, including schools. However, before you start using drones in your elementary technology class, it is important to be aware of safety and legal guidelines.

FAA Regulations for Drone Flight in Educational Settings

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established regulations governing the use of drones in educational settings. Schools and educators should obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA before using a drone for educational purposes. Additionally, the drone must be registered with the FAA and flown in accordance with FAA regulations.

Insurance and Liability Considerations for Schools

Schools also need to consider insurance and liability issues. Before using drones in the classroom, schools should check with their insurance provider to make sure they are covered in case of any accidents. Schools should also have clear guidelines and procedures in place for drone use, and teachers should ensure that students are using the drones safely and responsibly.

Hands-On Activities and Lesson Plans for Teaching with Drones

There are many exciting hands-on activities and lesson plans that educators can use to teach with drones in the classroom.

Building and Programming Mini Drones

One fun activity is to have students build and program mini drones. This teaches basic coding and engineering skills, as well as providing an opportunity for creative problem-solving.

Multi-Subject Lesson Plans Integrating Drone Technology

Drones can also be used to teach a variety of subjects, including science, math, social studies, and more. For example, students can use drones to map out the geography and topography of their local area, or to collect data for a science experiment.

Integration with STEM and STEAM Curriculum

Drones are a great tool for integrating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) curriculum.

Science and Math Applications of Drone Technology

In science and math classes, students can use drones to collect data, make measurements, and perform experiments. For example, your class can use drones to study the migration patterns of birds, or to measure the temperature and humidity of different areas.

Art and Design Applications of Drone Technology

In art and design classes, students can use drones to create aerial photography and videography projects. They can also use drones to create art installations and sculptures that integrate technology and the environment.

Future of Drone Technology and How it Relates to Elementary Education

As drone technology continues to evolve, it is important for educators to stay up-to-date and prepare their students for the future.

Evolving Drone Technology and its Impact on Education

Drone technology is rapidly evolving, and it is expected to have a significant impact on many industries, including education. It is likely that drones will become an increasingly important tool for teaching and learning in the future.

Preparing Students for the Future of Drone Technology

To prepare students for the future of drone technology, educators can incorporate drone use into their curriculum and provide students with opportunities to learn about and interact with drones. This will not only help students develop important technical skills, but also encourage creativity and innovation.

In conclusion, incorporating drones in elementary technology classes is a great way to engage students in STEM education and prepare them for the future. By following safety and legal guidelines, planning for drone use, and integrating drone technology into lesson plans, we can provide students with a unique and valuable learning experience. As drone technology continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly play a more significant role in education. It is up to us as educators to prepare our students for what lies ahead.

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