August 26, 2022 — 3 minutes
Our new drone simulator map features a highly interactive Mars Surface Environment ripe with learning opportunities for STEM students. For the very first time, this map arrives paired with an in-depth Course packed with amazing STEM-filled lessons. The map and course were developed in tandem to create objectives and teaching opportunities based on the environment. The map features space infrastructure and geographical obstacles such as solar panels, a rocket launch pad, space volcanoes, and more. The course covers some cool new programming concepts, plenty of flight calculating – featuring trigonometry and curves; problem-solving, and is even peppered with facts and information on Mars, Space Exploration and Rocket Science.
For those familiar with the free-roam, sandbox style of the Simulator’s City Map – the Mars Map also can be explored independently for testing code and exploring. All of the same simulator controls and features are carried over. Same simulator, next new level!
The Mars map design and the “Welcome to Mars” course materials were spearheaded by DroneBlocks Curriculum Specialist, Clinton Evans. Designed using game engine software, Clinton says his goal was to “Curate for interaction and relay-able lessons and furthermore, spur curiosity.” The course includes tasks to perform, challenging problem-solving concepts, a maze, trial and error “- all obstacles that encourage students to push through their mistakes and find creative solutions.”
In one lesson, students must measure the dimensions of Solar Panels by ‘pinging’ a satellite that helps with measuring and angles. This “satellite” activates a Chrome Protractor plug-in students use to accomplish the task.
In another lesson, students must deploy their drones on a search mission to locate research Trucks that are lost – the students must give each truck aerial direction support so they find their way to the Mobile Labs. This lesson focuses on flight navigation, coding efficiency and x, y, z planes.
The final lesson entails the inspection of a Rocket preparing for launch, by using flight curves. It finishes off with a surprise guest visit…
“Each lesson is piece by piece, it drives the student to learn how to use the tools, understand a concept and then at the end of each sub-lesson, put the skills to work. By the end, a snowball effect takes place and they use an amalgamation of the skills they’ve learned along the way.”
It was also important to Clinton to consider accessibility. “By keeping the map small, we spark curiosity for students who, say, spot a Rover or a Volcano, and want to go and check it out- at the same time the small map keeps the experience open to all who have access to a working Chromebook. Not everyone can access a Tello Drone all of the time, so this is really an equalizer for coding in a similar environment.”
We hope students around the world take part and enjoy exploring the Mars surface simulator and have as much fun as our developers did creating it. We asked Clinton what his ideal feedback was for the new Welcome to Mars course: “These are our future Drone Pilots and Coders. The goal is for one of these students to end up on mars someday!”
It's not just about coding—it's about fostering innovation and critical thinking in young minds. Our curriculum is meticulously crafted to engage students at every level, integrating theory with hands-on activities. See all of the courses we have available today!