The first time I saw a Bee-bot, I was intrigued. I was not sure what it was, but I knew that I needed one. It was adorable, with its flashing lights and noises and I knew that my students would love it. I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) Pre-K teacher, and I am always looking for new and exciting ideas to use in my classroom to help the students buy into the idea of learning.
Buzzing with Ideas for the Bee-Bots
As I learned about Bee-Bots at the summer Elementary Technology Conference in Galveston, I fell more and more in love with them. I knew that they would be a big hit with the kids. When I realized that we could design our own floor mats to fit our specific needs, I was hooked. Being able to customize what we need for our learning has been such an eye-opener and a great learning experience for me and it has helped the students in all subject areas.
At the end of the conference, my mind was spinning. I was beginning to imagine all the ways I could use these adorable little floor robots in my classroom. Instantly, I went to work on creating some mats for the class to use to meet district requirements. We would need one for every subject from phonics and math to science and social studies. Since my students are ESL learners, we use lots of photos to help us learn and build a foundation in vocabulary. They have loved looking at the bright-colored photos, and it has helped inspire conversations between the students, which in turn has helped them with their social and emotional skills.
A Hive of Activity
In the photo below, the students are working on a foundational skill in math. We are using the digits from 1 to 10, as well as a subitizing ten frame. The small cards are the digits from 1 to 10. The student can choose to code to the matching digit or the matching ten frame. I created it this way in order to allow for some differentiation.
When coding the robot, students can move it forward, backwards, and turn either way. They know the rules include keeping their Bee-Bots on the floor at all times and using the buttons to make him turn and move. They have to count the number of times it must move to get to the right spot. The Bee-Bot blinks and makes noise when it is finished with the command the students entered. If they have coded it correctly and it arrives at the desired number, we celebrate with a silent hand cheer. If the Bee-Bot does not make it to the correct desired number, the students move him back to the original spot, select the clear button, and try again. This is also a great way to incorporate problem-solving skills.
Using these Bee-Bots in my classroom has become a favorite of all the students. Their faces light up with excitement when I bring them out of their hiding place. When we make learning fun for our students, they retain more, have fewer behavior problems, and go home with a smile on their faces. When I see my students smiling, I know all is right in the world, and it warms my teacher heart.