The goal of the Robots & Computers Club is to foster creativity, curiosity and a sense of inventiveness towards the digital world surrounding these youngsters. Computers are there to follow our commands, and we can design what we want them to do. We are the creators of our world, not just the consumers!
Our Robots & Computers Club is an after-school club for Key Stage 1 at our Church of England Primary School. The structure of the club has been shifting slightly as we go along. The first year of the club was geared towards 4, 5 & 6 year olds (Reception and Year 1), with lots of Bee Bots and basic games to build up mouse skills. The structure was to have an introduction at the whiteboard about the theme of the day, and I’d introduce a game to them. The children would then self-select their starting activities: a game at the computer, a BeeBot activity with me on the carpet, or an artsy activity at the tables in the middle of the room. I’d then encourage them to switch a few times during club, and if we had a bit of time at the end we’d watch a 10 minute video.
In the second year we had a new ICT Room with more computers but less floor space, so we haven’t been doing as much BeeBots. I’m still figuring out how to run that in the classroom where we have our snacks first. I also followed the children up one year, so our club is now Reception class and Year 1 (5, 6 & & year olds) So now we start by introducing an application of computing or robotics, or a computing concept, while we have our snack, and we move into the ICT room for an activity that I’ve prepared on the blog post for the day. They get themselves started, and can switch to their own favourite games for the last 10 minutes of club.
This past term, I’ve been using the Code.org resources (on studio.code.org) to introduce computing concepts on the new Computing Curriculum. So far it’s going well, although it was pretty hard to tear them away from LEGO Star Wars games!
I’m still hoping to get back to BeeBots at some stage this term, and my goal for next year is to start introducing Scratch and hands-on creativity with MakeyMakey (and other great toys).
If you want to find out about the other stuff I do, go to http://about.me/margaretgold