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Buzzing with Bee-Bots

Years F-2

Students follow and describe a series of steps to program a floor robot. Plan a route to program a robot to follow a path and write a sequence of steps (algorithm)

Learning hook

Sequence game – whole class activity

  1. Give students a floor mat or large surface divided as a grid. The grid can be of any dimension, for example 3 x 3; 4 x 4; 5 x 5, 10 x 10. (A mat with a grid marked out, or some masking tape on the floor to show the grid. Make sure it is highly visible and that the squares are large enough for students to stand or sit in.)

    Open palm holding a man

    Additional scaffolding:

    To further create engagement, you could print out checker/chess boards, have students choose a token (either individually or in pairs), and follow a set of directions.

    Limited, low, or no vision icon

    Limited, low, or no vision:

    For those with limited, low, or no vision, ice-cube trays or similar with tactile grid lines could be used instead of a checker/chess boards. Complexity can be increased by joining two ice-cube trays to make a larger grid.

  2. Invite a student to volunteer to act in role as a robot. The robot’s task is to locate and retrieve an object placed somewhere on the grid. The robot must start from the bottom left hand corner.
  3. Explain that the robot needs to be given a set of instructions in order to retrieve the object. The robot understands words like Forward or Reverse and symbols like arrows and F for Forward, R for Reverse, etc.Three by three table containing man symbol and target shape
  4. Invite the students to write a set of instructions for the robot to follow. For example:
    FFRR or ↑↑→→
    (Forward 2 squares then move right 2 squares)

    Open palm holding a man

    Additional scaffolding:

    You may also wish to model an example set of instructions on the whiteboard to make sure students understand what is expected of them.

  5. Share student responses and direct the robot to move according to the sequence. Student acting in role as the robot must follow the directions given.
  6. Repeat the activity once or twice, using different volunteer robots and placing the object to be retrieved in a different location each time.
    You many choose to increase or decrease the size of the grid.

For background notes about coding, programming and computational thinking download this PDF

Learning map and outcomes

Discuss the importance of instructions. Explain that digital technology systems are not magic: they follow instructions.

  • Share the learning intentions for the lesson. 

For example: Today we will be:

  • learning to write a set of directions
  • directing a robot (Bee-Bot) to move in different directions
  • learning to use directional words.

Learners have a clear understanding of what they are learning and can see how it fits into bigger context.

WILT chart displayed on the wall (What I am Learning Today).

Learning input

Model the control buttons on a Bee-Bot. 

Encourage students to spend some time playing with the Bee-Bots to work out a sequence of steps needed to:

  • move the robot from one location to the other
  • move to create the perimeter of a square.

Learning construction

Provide students with challenges. For example:

  • Code the Bee-Bot to move forward for a specific distance in cm.
  • Code the robot to move across a number chart and skip count.
  • Code the Bee-Bot to trace differently sized squares.
  • Code the robot to move across a world map from one country to another.
  • Invent a Bee-Bot challenge. Learners record their learning, for example, by:
    • recording a simple written algorithm they have used (which could be done collaboratively in something like a Google Doc).
    Brain and brain stem outline on blue background

    Extension Activity

    making a video recording with commentary about the algorithm they have used (Explain Everything app)

  • Explain Everything app on App Store
  • Short video explanation of Explain Everything

Learning demo

Sharing solutions – whole class activity

  1. Encourage learners to share their solutions to the coding challenges. Ask learners to describe the series of steps they used to program their Bee-Bot.
  2. Record the solutions.
  3. Ask students to suggest directional words and/or symbols they used as they participated in the challenges. List these words.