It’s been a busy autumn and I’m sure we are all looking forward to Christmas and the New Year. A few kids were very busy learning to code without computers over ten weeks!
While there are arguably many systems out there to teach coding and robotics to pre-schoolers and early primary school aged kids, few make it as easy and enriching as the Kibo robot. I always start my sessions with the question “What is a robot?” I’ve never been disappointed by the knowledge kids already have about robots – some can be controlled with a remote control, some can use batteries, they move etc.
At the heart of robotics is the essence of coding with sensors – creating an “autonomous” robot that can make decisions based on what it senses. Kibo offers this and much more. Using sound, light, and distance sensors, kids can have their robot behave differently in the dark versus light, shake when it hears a loud sound, or park in a bay without hitting the wall.
Understanding sensors makes us more conscious of the technology around us: automatic opening doors, automatic lights, automatic headlights, and even simple robotic toys. We begin to ask questions like, “How does the Roomba know not to fall down the stairs?” “What happens if I press two buttons on the remote control of my toy?”
While discussing sensors, one child said, “The iPad must have many sensors because you can touch many parts of the screen to make things happen.” Another child chipped in and said, “Maybe the screen is just one big sensor.” Out-of-the-box-thinking.