Bee-Bots are a unique and fun way to start students computational thinking skills. The robot can remember up to 40 different commands and allows the student to program it to go left, right, forwards, backwards. With these programming skills comes maths and distance learning as well. The Bee-Bots allow children to create and perform tasks and gives them the opportunity to get a hands on knowledge about the STEM program. There are a wide range of activities that the Bee-Bots can be used in the classroom.
Bee-Bots are clearly used for foundation to year 2 as a great introduction into robotics. The Ferry (2018), gives teachers a basic lesson plan to involve the students in Bee-Bots. It includes the specific language that needs to be used and the step by step process to allow the students to understand basic algorithms. The links to the Australia curriculum could include:
Questioning and predicting – Pose and respond to questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events (ACSIS024)
Evaluating – Compare observations with those of others (ACSIS213)
Recognise and explore digital systems (hardware and software components) for a purpose (ACTDIK001).
Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems (ACTDIP004).
For struggling teachers another really comprehensive website with great lesson plans is https://elenikyritsis.com/2018/02/25/bee-bots-in-the-classroom/ which gives a step by step introduction to using the Bee-Bots in 3 stages with pictures and attachments to make the transition between each step smoother.
The disadvantages of the Bee-Bots could be that those with additional needs/ Non-English speaking backgrounds may find it difficult grasp the concepts. Also children that may have behavioural problems may get easily frustrated with the repetitive nature of the Bee-Bots which could lead to off-task behaviour.
Overall, I think that having something as simplistic as the Bee-Bots in the foundation to year 2 will allow that first step/introduction to computational thinking and robotics which will hopefully give those students a passion for other STEM subjects allowing them to fully explore the unlimited world of coding and other STEM related fields.
Ferry, D. (2018). Introduction to Programming via Bee Bots (F/ 1/2) Lesson Plan – Australian Curriculum Lessons. [online] Australian Curriculum Lessons. Available at: https://www.australiancurriculumlessons.com.au/2016/09/29/introduction-programming-via-bee-bots-f-12-lesson-plan/.
Australiancurriculum.edu.au. (2018). Digital Technologies. [online] Available at: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/technologies/digital-technologies/?year=12983&strand=Digital+Technologies+Knowledge+and+Understanding&strand=Digital+Technologies+Processes+and+Production+Skills&capability=ignore&capability=Literacy&capability=Numeracy&capability=Information+and+Communication+Technology+%28ICT%29+Capability&capability=Critical+and+Creative+Thinking&capability=Personal+and+Social+Capability&capability=Ethical+Understanding&capability=Intercultural+Understanding&priority=ignore&priority=Aboriginal+and+Torres+Strait+Islander+Histories+and+Cultures&priority=Asia+and+Australia%E2%80%99s+Engagement+with+Asia&priority=Sustainability&elaborations=true&elaborations=false&scotterms=false&isFirstPageLoad=false.