Bee-Bots are a wonderful tool to teach students the fundamentals of computational thinking. The small robot can remember up to 40 commands consisting of forward, backwards, left and right movements to maneuver around the floor. These commands develop students understanding of sequencing, computational thinking and the mathematical concepts of coordinates, distance, and location.
I am a big advocate for integrating the Digital Technologies curriculum with other areas of the curriculum to create hands on learning experiences that deepen students understanding of particular skills. The Bee-Bot allows students to create, explore, and problem solve to achieve success.
Here is a sequence of lessons I developed that connect the use of Bee-Bots to the Mathematics Curriculum, in particular Location & Mapping;
Part 1: – Bee-Bot introduction using challenge cards
To begin this unit we did a recap of the compass and directional movements. We used the Bee-Bot to help students grasp this.
- Using Bee-Bot mats, I added masking tape to the edges to which I wrote coordinates on each mat.
- Students used a variety of challenge cards to discover where the Bee-Bot was traveling from and to. (Challenge cards include forward, backwards, clockwise, anti-clockwise)
- Students worked together to decode the directional language and ensure they coded the correct sequence of directions into the Bee-Bot to move around then mat.
- On each challenge card was a QR Code that students could scan once they completed each challenge to see if they were successful.
(*Challenge cards can be accessed via my TeachersPayTeachers account)
Part 2: Students created their own Maps
- Students were paired together to create their own map.
- They designed their map on A4 grid paper. Their map needed to include a compass and coordinates.
- Enlarge their map design from A4 size to A3
- Students create three of their own challenge cards.
- Students then tested out each others creations to see if their challenges worked.
Part 3: Parent showcase
We invited our parents into the classroom to share this learning experience. Parents were now the students and the students shared their learning journey and process of learning with their parents.
How have you incorporated Bee-Bots into your classroom?
Eleni Kyritsis is an award winning Year 3 Teacher and Leader of Curriculum & innovation from Melbourne, Australia. Eleni facilitates professional learning workshops around the world that focus on unleashing creativity and curiosity in classrooms.