This week we moved onto using the Bee-Bot Software to continue our coding work. The children had lots of hands on work with the physical Bee-Bot before we tried programming on screen. We are using Focus on Bee-Bot: Lesson Activities 1.3 from Focus Education and it is a great resource for teaching control, directional language and programming. It can be used on the IWB or on individual laptops.
Initially they found it quite difficult to follow through a series of instructions, especially left and right turns as these were hard to visualise. The program does however let you take this one step at a time and many of the children began to get the hang of it by the end of the afternoon.
Recently I came across this great colouring app that I knew my class were going to love. Chromville is a free app that brings children’s colourings to 3D life using augmented reality and eventually lets them use their creations in on-screen games. You print off the pictures from the site and download the app onto a smartphone or tablet. The children colour the picture and then use the app to scan the picture. The app then recognizes the coloring pages, and brings them to virtual life on the screen, complete with 3D animations incorporating the children’s designs into the story. The children loved this activity and so did I. The only problem was with 5 and 6 year olds it was difficult to keep the tablet still and correctly positioned so it became quite adult intensive. Having said that, we had great fun and I would still recommend it.
Have a look at this video to see the full process – have a go, it’s great fun!
As teachers we are enjoying the challenges of the new Computing Curriculum in Primary (Dfe, 2013) . We are gradually adapting our practice to integrate the new objectives but our old favourite Bee-Bot still has a big part to play and is a great way to introduce younger children to algorithms. Year 1 are enjoying creating their own sets of instructions to direct Bee-Bot around the mat. Next week we will be extending this by using the computer software to complete on screen tasks.