Bee-Bot Cadre 1st Meet-Up

Programming, problem solving, and much more for K - 2

Last spring I was able to purchase, thanks to some unspent funding from a grant, 3 Bee-Bot “Hives” – they are about $600 each – each “hive” includes 6 Bee-Bots, a charging plate and a yellow backpack for transporting them. With time short before the school year ran out I taught/facilitated a quick class with 6 teachers from 3 schools to gauge teacher and student interest and learning using robots in the primary grades.

The idea was to facilitate teachers in their use and then loan a hive to each school – the participating teachers shared the hives at their site. Teachers and their students loved them and didn’t want to give them up. We even came up with a “STEAM” activity that I shared here.

 

With that success I was able to get funding for an additional 6 “Hives” this fall. Last Wednesday we started a year long cadre of Kindergarten to 2nd grade teachers (I couldn’t get any Pre-K teachers to join). There are about 27 teachers in the cadre from 9 schools and a local children’s museum.

I included the teachers from last spring, and although I feared what they might do if I didn’t include them, the reality is they are all excellent consultants and have already added much to the class.

In preparation for class I charged 54 Bee-Bots (9 “hives”) so they’d be ready to go.

 

 

 

 

We learned how Bee-Bots work and saw a few short videos showing them in action. Next teachers were given some time to get “messy” with them. Lots of button pushing, discussion and laughter ensued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I passed out large sheets of foam board and let them work in school groups to design straw mazes so they could experience firsthand what their students would be doing (but you can use blocks and lots of other materials you might already have in your classroom).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also shared a Bee-Bot wiki resource we started last spring and will add to as the year goes on. I was able to include a yellow digital camera in each hive (the color match is awesome). The cameras are NOT part of what comes with a hive, but I wanted a way to collect and archive data and ideas and the cameras were available.  I’ll also set up a Flickr account for this class, like we had last spring. We’ll collect data on how long a program students write without prompting to see their progress during the year.

The teachers were sent out with their hives to get started and set-up how they want to manage and utilize the Bee-Bots in their classrooms – the teachers from the spring cadre shared some of their experiences which should help. We meet again next week. More later.

Learning is messy!

Bee-Bot Collaborative Dance

Coding fun!

 Awhile back I (well, the place where I work) was able to purchase 3 Bee-Bot “Hives.” A hive is 6 Bee-bots, a charger plate and a yellow backpack to carry everything around. Once I had them I quickly put together a class for Pre-K – 2 teachers. The first class met about a month ago and our next class met last night.

Along with the teachers sharing out what their students have been up to (they are so excited!!!) and me sharing a few more resources on our class “Bee-Bot” wiki page, I asked them to try out a collaborative Bee-Bot activity I thought up. Now to be fair I don’t know if others have thought of this before and done this already – so I don’t want to take undue credit. I was thinking about how to make what you do already with Bee-Bots have an even stronger collaborative bent when I came up with this:

Pair 2 pairs of students and their shared Bee-Bots and have them work together to choreograph a “dance.” Start on opposite sides of a table or facing each other on the floor. Start out having the Bee-Bots approach each other until they are face to face. Next keep adding to your program so the Bee-Bots go around each other, back and forth etc. They can keep adding commands to make their dance longer and more intricate.

Here is a video of one of the teachers “coding” her Bee-Bot with the program she and her partner designed:
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Here is a clip of their Bee-Bot dance:
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And here is a dance choreographed by another pair of teachers:
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I’m looking forward to seeing their students taking on this challenge in the weeks ahead.

Learning is messy!