STEM Sims: Dronopter

Stem Sims: Dronopter


STEM Sims provides over 100 simulations of laboratory experiments and engineering design products for application in the STEM classroom. One particular simulation found on this site, Dronopter, challenges students to build a drone in the form of a quadcopter (helicopter with four motors). Subsequently, students design, build, and fly their very own quadcopter in order to complete the simulation. This simulation’s mission is to challenge students to build the most efficient drone possible and fly it through a course of obstacles to reach its destination. In doing so, students can incorporate and develop STEM competencies in mathematics, science, and mechanical knowledge to complete this simulation. Dronopter is aligned with national (NGSS) standards  and is compatible with state standards as well:

  • MS-PS2.B – Types of Interactions
  • MS-PS3.C. – Relationship Between Energy and Forces
  • MS-ETS1.B – Developing Possible Solutions

The simulation provides students with a brochure (see link below) with a pre-assessment quiz as well as introductory information about the uses of drones as well as basic concepts related to flight. Dronopter engages students who have a variety of learning styles by having them build and test their design. Moreover, students who struggle with science concepts but have interest in mechanical or mathematical areas will have a chance to contribute to the experiment. Students will utilize metacognitive strategies to determine why any given test failed and choose new strategies to try in future attempts.



Sample Assessment

STEM Sims provides a lesson plan for this simulation (see link below); once again providing an excellent learning opportunity for students while minimizing the planning needed by teachers.



Dronopter is an excellent learning opportunity for students that is challenges students to design a drone capable of flying through a difficult course. Students will learn about STEM concepts in a manner that brings enjoyment to learning concepts that are meaningful and relevant. Please consider taking the opportunity for a free trial to evaluate this simulation for your classroom to determine where this simulation fits into your classroom’s instruction.

For a free trial, visit

Recommended System Qualifications:

  • Operating system: Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.7
  • Browser: Chrome 40, Firefox 35, Internet Explorer 11, or Safari 7
  • Java 7, Flash Player 13

Single classroom subscription: $169 for a 365-day subscription and includes access for 30 students and 100 simulations.

Product Site:

Edwin P. Christmann is a professor and chairman of the secondary education department and graduate coordinator of the mathematics and science teaching program at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Anthony Balos is a graduate student and a research assistant in the secondary education program at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

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