My Parrot MiniDrone is my trainer How to use robotics in Physical Education

How to use robotics in Physical Education ? It's time to implement coding and robotics in all subjects, even in PE ! We use a Parrot Mini Drone to help our student to run at a specific pace. Here is a video (in french) to present the project.

Running at a specific pace

The 12k french PE curriculum defines 4 types of activities: producing a performance, individual and collective opposition, adapting movements in different context, producing an artistic performance. Running at a specific pace is a teaching content of middle-distance running, a "producing a performance" activity.

By practicing middle-distance running, students have to experience many pace including their maximal aerobic speed (MAS). At first we use external cue to incrementally experiment internal feedbacks. Different types of external cues could be used : visual cue (lines, flags), audio cue (music, sounds, whistle). In this project, our Mini Drone will become a moving visual cue.

A Mini Drone as a visual cue

Jumping Sumo / Parrot Mini Drone

Students have to follow the Mini Drone, moving forward at a specific speed. After a couple of runs, students could link this visual cue to internal feedbacks as proprioception, muscle tense or kinesthesis. These sensations are an important part of our pedagogical objectives.

A visual cue at different moment

  • Beginners could have visual cue at the start. They follow the Mini Drone from start line during the first 50 meters.
  • After this first step, it's also possible to set the Mini Drone as a visual cue at the middle of the run. It's a way for students to check if they run at the right pace.
  • The Mini Drone could be a visual cue at the end of the run to help student to run at the right pace from the beginning to the end of the run.

Coding a Mini Drone, a way to make sense with a multidisciplinary approach

Tynker is an awesome app to program Parrot Mini Drones as ours.

Programming our Parrot Mini Drone is pretty easy. Tynker is the perfect app to discover block-coding. All of the Parrot Mini Drones, Sphero and Ollie are supported. You will find more informations on, a french project dedicated to learn coding with connected objects !

With Tynker, it's easy to set time and percentage of the maximum speed.

A few minutes are enough to build the code we need. Only 3 blocks are in use : "start", "percentage of maximum speed", "move forward", and "stop". The most important thing is to define the right settings.

pace = distance / time

We have done some tests to define the right settings. We learnt that Max (the name of our Parrot Sumo Mini Drone) is able to move forward 10 meters in 3.5 seconds at his maximal speed. From these datas, student has to program the Mini Drone using some mathematics skills as solving proportions.


This kind of project is a way to implement coding and robotics outside of STEM subjects. It's also a good way to increase students motivation and develop good habits and encourage a sustainable physical activity. Finally, as futur world-citizens, students has to develop critical thinking skill about Tech !

Created By
Julien Tixier

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