Activity

Robot Around the Block

What You Need:

  • An educational robot such as a Bee-Bot or a Code-and-Go Robot Mouse
  • Wooden blocks

What You Do:

  1. Explain to your student that they are going to program a robot to travel in the shape of a square.
  2. Invite them to arrange wooden blocks in a square-shaped structure on the floor or a table top.
  3. Now, show them the educational robot. Review the command buttons and ask them to think about what commands they will need (and in what order) to make the robot travel in a square, around the blocks.
  4. Invite your student to write down the sequence of commands on a piece of scratch paper. They may also act out the commands with their own bodies to demonstrate the commands and test their ideas.
  5. Next, they may program the robot and run the code. Allow them opportunities to troubleshoot the code and revise the sequence of commands as needed.
  6. Afterwards, ask your student questions that will help them reflect on the experience:
    • Did your code work the first time? Why or why not?
    • 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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