Article

Initiating to coding

Beebot

A beebot is a programmable floor robot that can be used across all elements of the primary curriculum. It can be that first initial tool that children are able to use in their learning about coding. When a child uses a Beebot they are developing their problem solving skills, their ability to work together and unbeknownst to them, they are learning the very basics in algorithms.

Children caCoding-beebot-2n begin their coding journey by first learning the language required, by physically instructing each other around the class as if they were robots. Once the basic language is understood the children can begin to explore outcomes when different buttons are pressed on the Beebot. The teacher becomes a guide offering problems or challenges rather than an instructor giving the children more time and opportunities to learn autonomously.

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Developing Coding

By instructing the Beebot to go forwards, backwards, turning left or right and how far the children have to articulate the algorithm, make predictions, test results and debug the program if the end result is not what they had set out to achieve. These are invaluable skills and whilst to a bystander it may just look like ‘playing’ the child is independently furthering their own understanding of programming, making logical, rational, reasoned decisions.

Across the Curriculum

Beebots need not only be used in coding, they can be used across the curriculum to ensure that the learning is enjoyable and memorable. For example at Ecole Eden in class we recently created our own Beebot maps of an Arctic scene and used it to create our own story map.

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You could create a maze and race the Beebots across the class encouraging children to use time and make predictions or use the Beebots as bowling balls on numbered skittles to see who can get the highest score using the four main operations in Maths. In Art the children can program the robot to draw, or in Geography program the Beebot to go on a journey around the world. Even with older children a program can be given to the children to make a regular polygon or other object and the children have to predict the outcome and fix any bugs before even entering in the code to the Beebot.

The opportunities are endless, we just need to as teachers keep thinking of different innovative ways to incorporate Beebots into our lessons.