Blow the House Down with Robotics

What You Need

  • A copy of the story of the Three Little Pigs
  • An educational robot such as Bee-Bot or a Code and Go Robot Mouse
  • Craft sticks
  • Blocks

What You Do

  1. Ask students to recall the story of The Three Little Pigs. Discuss the materials the pigs used to build their houses.
  2. Show students the craft sticks and invite them to build a model of a house made of sticks.
  3. As students build, they may soon discover that the sticks alone are not strong enough or wide enough to build a house. If so, invite students to use wooden blocks to help hold up the sticks.
  4. Once the students have built a model of a stick house, show them the educational robot and ask them to pretend that the robot is the big bad wolf.
  5. Challenge them to program the robot to move forward, pushing the house and knocking it down.
  6. Students will need to think about where they place the robot on the table or floor. Then they will need to figure out how many commands they will need to make the robot move toward the house and push the walls down.
  7. Afterwards, ask students questions that will help them reflect upon the experience:
    - What did you enjoy more – building the house or programming the robot? Why?
    - What did you find most difficult about this task?
    - How did you overcome the problems you encountered?


Ann Gadzikowski is an author and educator with a passion for challenging children to think creatively and critically. Her recent book Robotics for Young Children won the 2018 Midwest Book Award for best educational book. Ann developed her expertise in robotics, computer science, and engineering through her work as early childhood coordinator for Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. She has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and director of early childhood programs, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Preschool of the Arts, a Reggio-Emilia inspired school in Madison, Wisconsin.

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