3:30 – 3:45 Snack & Chat
The kids were really quiet today, which made for an evenly paced club – and lot’s of good attention from them in the beginning. I really do need to send out a letter to parents asking them to pack a snack, the kids without snacks hug my knees and look up at me forlornly begging for food!
Today we took a look at some real robots being developed by the MIT Leg Laboratory, and talked about how a group of people are looking at how bodies move and designing robot legs that work in similar ways. We watched this clip on mute while we talked about all of the different kinds of legs in nature, and how these robot legs where imitating them.
I then had the kids stand up and look at how their own legs work – where are the parts that bend, what directions can they go in, and where do our muscles pull to make this all happen? We had some fun hopping around and lifting our legs up in various directions.
3:50 – 4:20
We spent a bit longer than usual talking about Robot Legs, so we just had one activity on the carpet today, and two activities on the computer.
1. BeeBots – Exploring our BeeBots
Free time to explore the BeeBots on the carpet, practicing how the buttons work, getting them to dance, and trying different motions.
Using the 2Simple Paint A Picture software that the school has installed, I asked the children to draw a picture of Robot Legs of their own design.
They did a lovely job using their imaginations and practicing their mouse skills. I’ll get some of the pictures uploaded to the blog at a later date. Many of them continue to draw other pictures and play with the various painting tools in the software. When they tired of this, we switched over to Poisson Rouge.
3. Explore – Poisson Rouge
Our favourite free time on the computer for exploring is the Poisson Rouge website and it’s games for children. It has been online and growing since 1999. It contains over 300 games and activities to suit all. There is no text, there are no explanations, everything is free-form and children find their way around as soon as they can hold a mouse. If you are lost, let them guide you!
4:20 – 4:30 Video
The kids were quiet today, and many of them watched this episode of Little Robots from their computer chairs as well as from the carpet.
The Sparkies find a box of bits that they turn into vehicles with joysticks. They discover if they twiddle them, they can make the Robobirds spin round on their perches, Stripy whirl and Sporty jump up and down when he doesn’t want to! Tiny investigates and decides that he’s got to stop them before it all gets out of hand. With a quick tweak of the joystick when they’re not looking, Tiny has the Sparkies cartwheeling out of control and landing in a heap beside the Nut and Bolt Tree!