After allowing the students to have varied levels of success using the Bee-Bots, I decided to move them to the Probots. These robots can also be considered as somewhat ‘older’ technology, but they allow a simple progression using robots. The students are able to continue with the basic movements that the Bee-Bots offered but here we have some new features e.g. the ability to move the Probots a specific distance or turn to a certain degree. Using it with the RP students, it also added a level of engagement as they were shaped like cars
ISTE alignment – Empowered Learner, Knowledge Constructor, Computational Thinker.
Allowing the students some time to explore and engage with the ‘new’ robot, they now used the mazes we constructed for the Bee-Bots with the Probots. After their confidence and initial over-excitement moved to a manageable level, I showed them the new feature of measuring and telling the Probot exactly how far we wanted it to go. The tape I used to construct the mazes was from the EDU Sphero pack (more about Spheros later!).
As can be seen, the tape has set measurements along it, counting up to a meter and then starting again. With this being RP students, we weren’t going into the specific counting on strategies. But what we see is that every 10cm is marked with a slightly larger font size and a Sphero logo. All we did was show the students to count by 10’s, ignoring what the numbers actually said. This allowed for approximation, while also being an accurate measure. It showed both the teacher and myself that some students were able to distinguish finer numbers. For example, when one of the sides actually measured 63cm, most of the students would input 60cm. One group of students worked out that 63cm was a better number and input that so they could be more exact. It’s one of those moments as a teacher that surprises you!
Keeping in mind that these are students aged 5 or 6, we were working with simple code, we were estimating lengths, we were testing, and engaging in trial and error. The language and level of engagement that was taking place was extensive.
We have spent only a few lessons using the Probots with this age group, and will continue to do so until the end of the calendar year. After this we will be moving onto Spheros!
Next: what we are doing in Grade 3!