Semester 2, Seminar 7
This week we looked at the bee bots and talked about how we would use them in the classroom with the children. The bee bots move systematically based on the instructions which have been inputted. The bee bot has 4 main instructions; forwards, backwards, right and left. The bee bot will remember each instruction that is entered. This allows the user to build up a series of instructions, they are writing an algorithm. In order to re programme the bee bot they have to clear the last instructions.
The bee bots help children to develop their computer science skills. They learn about algorithms through programming the bee bot to move. They then have to debug the algorithm if the bee bot has a problem. For example, if they programme the bee bot but it moves in the wrong direction they have to debug the programme to work out where the problem occurred.
In our ICT session we did an activity where we had to look at the laid out lines on the floor and work out what instructions would be needed to get out bee bot to meet the blue bot. This is a fun activity for children because teachers can set up many different activities. The aim of out activity was to get the bee bot to his blue bot friend but it could have been to get to the shop or to get to school.
This was a fun activity because everybody wanted their bee bot to win and it was exciting to watch them travel and see who got the closest. We realised that we didn’t make our bee bot move forward enough times, meaning it didn’t reach the other blue bot.
Another activity we looked at was using the bee bot maps. This means the children have to programme their bee bot to get to certain places on the map. The teacher could set this activity out for children and they could write the algorithm, programme the bee bot, then debug if they had any problems.
Once the children understand how to use the bee bots and the maps they to make their own maps. They can draw a map for their peers use. They could choose any image such as; car park, road, fun fair, zoo or shopping centre. The children can get creative and think of the places they can make their bee bot travel to.
Using a bee bot ruler they can work out the spacing to ensure the bee bots can be programmed to reached the designed destination. Once they have made their map they can use their bee bots to try reach the destinations. When they are happy that it works they can pass it to another group of children and they each try each others maps.
I think this is a fun activity that children can really enjoy and get involved with. It is developing their computer science skills while being fun and engaging.
To make the activity better think the children could include a challenge route for their peers that includes a more complex path for the bee bots to take. This could also be a fun extension task. They could also make a 3D map using lego bricks, rulers, pencils etc. I think this would be fun for the children as well as adding a complex issue to think about when planning their map.
In key stage 1 I would do this activity, but over a period of time. I feel like the children would need to have experience with programming the bee bots and using the maps before they made their own. I think the children would need to be groups of 4-6 in order for them to work together to design, make and test a good standard map. I would also show them lots of examples to give them ideas and make sure they understand the concept of using the bee bot ruler.
Example lesson structure:
lesson 1 – getting know the bee bots ( programming them and doing the simple on floor routes)
lesson 2 – making the bee bots form letters/shapes , showing examples of bee bot maps
lesson 3 – using the bee bot maps, make an example bee bot map as a class using the bee bot ruler
lesson 4 – make your own bee bot map and share with the other groups
Next, the children make move onto more complex algorithms and de bugging. For example, on computer programmes online. It is harder to programme something that isn’t in your hands or in front of you.
This blog post is done by a teacher who talks about the use of bee bots. She talks about how they have benefited the children and how they can help their development. She also talks about how she organises them in the classroom and shows you a display she made to inform parents.