The Robot you NEED in your classroom!

This year, I began a coding/programming after school club! Pretty exciting has been a blast so far. The kids (from what I can tell) love it, too! This week I had a second grader come up to me and say, "Miss Stasiak, 5 days!!!" I had no idea what he was referring to until he said, "What robot are we learning about this time?!" Those little things make all the extra time and planning worth it!  As the year progresses, I cannot wait to share all of the awesome coding/programing resources our school has received. However, there is one robot I can't wait to share with you...Blue-Bot (or Bee-bot)!! Blue-Bot and Bee-bot do the same exact thing, but Blue-bot has a Blue-tooth that allows him to connect to a tablet or PC.

The bots have command keys to move them forward and backward, left and right to help students practice sequencing, directionality, problem-solving, counting and communication skills. They simply click the buttons on the Blue-bot and press GO! The bot then processes the commands and moves around the mat. You can also use the Blue-bot iPad app to program him that way. I found that students enjoy both ways--it really just depends on what the student prefers.

On the blue-bot site, you can find various mats to purchase for students to interact with. There are shapes, letters, numbers, mazes and more!

However, if you buy the blank card mat, you can put any cards you'd like on the map. The grid has a thick, plastic layer on top so whatever you add to the mat will stay in place. When you are done, simply lift up the plastic layer, remove the cards you used, and add different cards!

SO I tried this with my class for the first time this week and it. was. a. HIT! I have honestly never seen my students that excited about word work before! We tried a simple review activity--I filled the mat with CVC words and pictures. With a partner, students had to give their partner a "mission."

i.e. "Ok Matt--you need to get Blue-bot from the word six to the word jet. Go!"

Students then have to read and find the words they are looking for, and program Blue-bot to do what he needs to do. The first couple tries, students would program the bot incorrectly--and it was so awesome to see other students saying, "Oh I know what you need to do--try this!!" Towards the end of the activity, students were seamlessly programming the bot and reading like crazy! Check out some pictures of the fun we had below:

And you have to watch this cute video of two of my kids celebrating their Blue-bot success! <3

Now, I'm sure you can imagine the possibilities in the classroom with the card mat. I could find cards to add to the mat for pretty much any content area, standard, lesson, etc. The teacher next door saw what we were doing and thought it was as cool as we did. So she tried it with her students the next day during math class! Students had to find a read and find different two-digit numbers--and they loved it.

Quick Tip:
-Tell your students Blue-bot moves on his own and is not to be used like a race car (i.e. he should not be pushed around the mat with your hands). It could hurt his wheels!!

I am urging you to try this fun activity for you students--write a Donors Choose or talk to your administration and get a Blue-bot for your classroom!!

Happy teaching!

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