Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BeeBots: All the Buzz!

The STEM Labs are open for the start of the 2013/14 school year.  You can hear the buzz coming from the lab not only with the excitement from the students, but from our BeeBots.  As part of our STEM program here in LASD the students will begin with computational thinking as early as kindergarten.  Students will start to learn the early stages of programming and logic. The BeeBots are one way our K through 2nd grade students will engage in this type of thinking in the lab and in the classroom.  The students are learning how to give directions to the BeeBot by programming him to move along the mat.  The BeeBot understands the commands of moving forward, back, left and right.  This little robot can store up to 40 inputs.  Along with the programming the students are learning how to problem-solve by working together as well as understanding sequencing.
The students have been practicing their math addition facts in combination with programming the BeeBot.  One example of this math connection was demonstrated in a recent lesson.  The 2nd grade students rolled the dice, added the two numbers and had to program the BeeBot to move to that location on the mat, rather than simply counting spaces.  The next student needed to do the same task, but had to start from that location. 

Directional language is also being learned through the BeeBot lessons.  This concept was highlighted when students needed to get the BeeBot through a maze full of obstacles.  If the BeeBot wasn’t programmed with the right moves he would run into a roadblock and couldn’t complete his journey through the maze.  The good thing is the students were able to learn through their mistakes and get back on track.
This little robot is so engaging and fun for the students they are so eager to learn everything he can do.  He can even dance if you show him the right moves.  This is only one component of our STEM program.  Stay tuned there is more to come!

Contributed by:  Karen Wilson, STEM Coach

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