Robot Domino Effect

What You Need

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


What You Do

  1. Invite your student to create a domino effect by lining up a row of dominos, tapping the first domino, and watching the rest of the dominos fall in a chain reaction.
  2. Ask them, “How hard did you have to tap that first domino? Did you push it hard or tap it gently?” Most children will recognize that you only need to tap it gently.
  3. Ask, “How would you program a robot to tap that first domino? Let’s try it.”
  4. Invite your student to create another row of dominos on a table or on the floor and then set the robot a short distance away. Challenge students to program the robot so that it will travel from its current position to the dominos, just tapping the first domino.
  5. Your student may need to test out their program several times, rebuilding the domino chain each time.
  6. If a large number of dominos are available, challenge them to create more elaborate domino chains, initiating the chain reaction each time with a tap from the robot.
  7. Afterwards, ask your student questions that will help them reflect on the experience:
    • What did you find most difficult about this task?
    • How did you overcome the problems you encountered?
    • What might you do differently next time you have a task like this?

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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