Integrating Programming for Kids in Homeschooling Elementary Students

Homeschool parents want to make the most of every minute of instruction. Using efficient, engaging, and effective tools to integrate instruction with hands-on activities that combine math and science with engineering and technology, and even the arts is so important. Just as cooking can be used to teach chemistry (a science concept) and measurement (a math concept), many different STEAM activities are so much fun that students don’t even realize that they are learning concepts that they will use throughout their lives. Below we will share some ideas and a resource that homeschool parents (including those who are new to teaching at home due to COVID-19) will enjoy using it with their children.

A Coding Robot for Children 4-9

There are several coding toys available to integrate programming into your child’s curriculum. Many require a computer program to design or operate. One that does not require a computer but is very effective is called KIBO. This coding robot toy is designed to teach coding to children 4-9 years old. The valuable skills that KIBO teaches are sequencing, the critical skill of problem-solving, creative thinking used in artistic expression, and the language and vocabulary development of storytelling. All these skills are important to your child’s brain development.

Benefits of Coding

There is substantial research proving the benefits of young children engaging in the STEAM activities of coding. One benefit of coding is that children can discover multiple ways to be producers or creators vs. being simply a consumer. Using their coding toy, a child can develop a sequence of commands which will make the robot respond with a variety of motions or actions. By changing the sequence, the child changes what their robot will perform. Unlike a standard math or science worksheet that has only one correct answer to each question, the programming aspect of coding teaches children that there is more than one way to solve a problem and unlimited possibilities

Problem Solving Meets Creative Thinking

Creativity starts with the building and decoration of the KIBO robot itself. There are multiple ways to put their robot together – from the wheels, to the sensors, to the art platforms – there is an infinite number of possibilities for creative expression. Several videos demonstrate what other children have done, which can inspire your child when beginning their journey with coding and robotics. Children can use the pieces in any way they want and discover how to program it without an over-reliance on adult intervention. The trial and error aspect of programming builds persistence in children, a trait that is increasingly lost in our world of instant online gratification.

Curriculum Alignment

KIBO’s programming for kids curriculum is aligned with today’s computer science standards, including: Common Core, CSTA ISTE,NGSS and CS Standards, to be sure the lessons meet the standards for grades K-4. Understanding what programming is supposed to teach students from a technology standpoint is as important as the standards for thinking skills and creativity. Although your children will not use computers with KIBO, they will be learning the foundation for using technology which will be used when they are older. Here is an example of a CSTA standard that the KinderLab Robotics toy can teach:

For Grade levels: K-2:

Develop programs with sequences and simple loops, to express ideas or address a problem.

Programming is used as a tool to create products that reflect a wide range of interests. Control structures specify the order in which instructions are executed within a program. Sequences are the order of instructions in a program. For example, if the dialogue is not sequenced correctly when programming a simple animated story, the story will not make sense. If the commands to program a robot are not in the correct order, the robot will not complete the task desired. Loops allow for the repetition of a sequence of code multiple times. For example, in a program to show the life cycle of a butterfly, a loop could be combined with move commands to allow continual but controlled movement of the character.

A Fun Way to Learn

One of the things we are learning from parents as they navigate homeschooling during the COVID-19 crisis is their children’s dissatisfaction with worksheet packets and online learning resources. The best thing about KIBO is that it is fun and hands-on. It teaches naturally through exploration and is developmentally appropriate for children, regardless of their background or personal learning needs.

How KIBO Can Help During this Time

The “KIBO Home Robotics Course” is a 3-month KIBO rental program, with an accompanying home curriculum and supporting email, videos, etc. Parents work through the curriculum with their children. It’s $169 per family, which gives them the KIBO robot for 3 months. It is the perfect fit for the remaining time in the school year.

Meet KIBO, a Screen-free Educational STEAM Robot

There are coding toys available designed to approach a precise issue: How do we teach young people about coding fundamentals while giving them a fertile environment for other aspects of their growth? Enter KIBO, a screen-less way to engage and learn. Using programmable wooden building blocks that can be placed and manipulated to create sequences that will direct a robot’s movements, it addresses a growing understanding of technology’s impact on childhood development and allowing us to rethink the amount of time children interface with computers.

KIBO, the learning robot designed specifically for kids, offers an inviting, engaging platform for young children to start their journey into creating with code in a fun and creative way. KIBO’s block-based coding language gives children control over the robot’s movements, sounds, and sensors, allowing them to express their imaginations with code. The KIBO curriculum for educators also teaches children to tell stories, create characters, and explore the world around them through code. KIBO is the number one choice in screen-free coding for kids – trusted by more parents and schools to introduce today’s youth to the wonders of technology and robotics.

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