On the first day of Robots & Computers Club, 16 excited 4 and 5 year olds followed me up the stairs to the school ICT Room, and we sat down on the carpet in front of the Whiteboard for Roll Call and a snack.
3:30 – 3:40 Snack & Chat
The kids were absolutely bubbling over from their day, and clearly need that first 10 minutes to just decompress for a bit, have a snack (they are starving at the end of the day!), and ask their new teacher lots of questions.
While they crunched on their apples and biscuits I asked them what they know about robots, who has a toy robot, whether robots can do things by themselves or whether people have to tell them what to do.
3:40 – 3:50 Videos
On the Whiteboard we looked at this picture of a Robot Arm, and talked about how it resembles a human arm.
The kids came up with ideas about how you could use a robot arm to do jobs for you. Picking up toys was a popular idea!
We then watched this video clip of the Canadarm, and talked about the job it does helping astronauts in outer space.
3:40 – 4:00 Arts & Crafts
By then the kids were ready to shift gears, and we went over to the big central table for a bit of art work. Each of the kids drew a picture of what they would imagine a robot to look like. There was some wonderful creativity, including multiple arms and legs, and an entire family of robots.
[hr]4:00 – 4:10 Introducing BeeBots
And now for the real fun – time to introduce our very own robots that we will be exploring fully as part of this club – the Bee Bots!
BeeBots are award winning floor robots on wheels, with directional arrow buttons on their backs.
With all of the kids back on the carpet, I held up one of our cute BeeBots and asked the children what they think it might be.
We then talked about the buttons on the back, what direction the tell the BeeBot to go in, and how the instructions add up like words in a sentence until you hit the GO button in the middle. If you want to give the BeeBot a new set up instructions, or want to start from the beginning again, you need to press the CLEAR button.
4:10 – 4:30 Free Time
It’s a bit tricky to share 6 BeeBots across 16 children (I had hoped for 12, i.e. two children per BeeBot, but the club was so popular that the school upped the number of kids to the number of computers we have in our ICT room….). But a bit of happy chaos on the first day of a new club isn’t a bad thing, so I split the kids into groups of 3 to each share and explore the BeeBots together for the rest of the session.
Luckily I have a teacher helping me with the club, so the two of us sat down with the kids on the carpet and guided them (and helped them share evenly) as they explored the buttons, had the BeeBots running between their legs, and dancing in circles.
Towards the end of the club time, the kids were beginning to wear a bit thin. It’s a long day for them at this age, and so we’ll break up the Club activities a bit more next week with a short video story they can watch for the last 10 minutes before home time.