Twelve years ago in a land far, far away, a group…..created a plastic bumblebee and gave it a battery-operated motor and wheels. They made it to be programmable and handed it over to early years students.
Since then the BeeBot, BlueBot, mats, and accessories have been steadily entering into early years and even middle years classrooms. Both teachers and students excited about working with a simple programmable robot that effectively teaches spatial awareness, critical thinking, sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving. With up to 40 commands for one continuous movement, BeeBot offers many learning opportunities. Command sequences can start out easy and then move towards more creative and complex ones. The tiny robot (13cm x 10cm) moves in 15 cm steps and 90º turns.
BeeBot can be used in a variety of subject and grade levels, check out some of the examples below:
- Create visuals, write a story and have BeeBot act it out.
- Use letter cards under a clear mat and have students program BeeBot to spell out specific sight words.
- Create vowel mats.
- Lay down a map of a country, region or world and give BeeBot commands as to where it should visit.
- Place timeline cards on a specific historical event mismatched on a grid under a clear mat. Have students give BeeBot the commands to allow it to travel in chronological order of the events.
- Use digit/number cards under a clear mat and have students count by 2s, 5s, 10s or in another specific pattern.
- Create a maze on the floor or a table and program BeeBot to run through it.
- Create a 2D shape and/or 3D object mat.
- Tape a number line on the floor/table and have BeeBot programmed one and two more and less than a number.
- Draw out a lifecycle of an animal on a poster and program BeeBot to follow the lifecycle.
- Create a color mat with either color squares or colored objects and program BeeBot to go to certain colors.
For teachers in our school division, we have a Mobile Learning Initiative where teachers can meet together, share their tinkering, engineering, and making. I have created a page dedicated to the BeeBot found at http://www.psdblogs.ca/mli/coding-programming-and-makerspaces/beebot/. There is also a loaner library for them.