Despite having completed some CPD in the area, I’ve had minimal hands-on experience with Coding Robots. It’s one of those things that was on my to-do list for a long time! I had bought some books and resources, which were lying idle, waiting to be used. I had even bought Botley, the Coding Robot, which my own kids at home had some fun with, but never made it into the classroom.
When ABC School Supplies reached out to me, I knew it was a good opportunity to finally try out some coding in my classroom. Before bringing E.a.R.L. into school, I set about laying the foundations for directional words, codes and sequences. I started with a great book from Stuart J. Murphy called ‘Bug Dance’. The story introduces positional words to the children in the form of a simple dance. I introduced the children to some symbols and we built the code for the dance.
Once we had done the groundwork, I introduced E.a.R.L. to the class. There was much excitement.
We used E.a.R.L. with a floor mat of a street scene, which was ideal for our first activity, as the journey is clear and easy to see. After testing out codes out as a whole class, I set the children working in groups to plan a journey and write a code for E.a.R.L.. Each group got to try out their code and together we fixed any ‘bugs’ in their codes. Engagement was high.
I provided E.a.R.L. and the street scene mat, along with symbol cards, mini whiteboards and markers, during playtime. The children were delighted to get the opportunity to explore coding freely. I observed the children playing over the next few days without interfering and it was wonderful to watch them work together as a team and problem-solve. One group even created a bowling game!
My school is planning to buy a set of coding robots in the coming months. After trying out E.a.R.L, I think it would be a good choice for us. Ideally, you would have one robot for every 2-3 children in a class so that they all get a chance to fully engage. There is also a huge range of floor mats available to complement E.a.R.L., including an alphabet mat, a world map and a treasure island. The opportunities for learning and integration are endless!
Click here to see E.a.R.L. and the range of floor mats stocked by ABC School Supplies.
Interested in STEM? Why not check out some of my other blog posts…