Programmable Robot Kits for Young Kids
Programmable robot kits offer young children the ability to code their own robot – the robot moves and reacts based on the instructions the children give it. The robot is an “object to think with,” in Dr. Seymour Papert’s phrasing.
1) What is the importance of providing programmable robot kits for PreK-2 students
- Research shows that when you introduce age-appropriate programmable robot kits to young children their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) significantly increases.
- Programmable robots kits engage early learners to learn STEAM concepts in a playful and creative way. Young children become the creator of their own projects, not just consumers.
- These building and programmable robot kits allow young children to follow their own creative interests. They work together, they discover, and they share as they create. Students are able to tell stories, create characters, and explore their world with STEM robotics kits.
2) How can I easily introduce programmable robot kits to young learners?
Introducing robotics can be easy, even to your youngest learners. Some examples include:
- What are you reading with the class? Perhaps you are reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” or “Goin on a Bear Hunt”? Decorate the robot to be that character, the children develop their sequence of steps to reenact the story, and bring the robot to life!
- Learning about addition and subtraction? Make a number line, and figure out how many forwards the robot must take to get to the end line. How many backwards movements to get to a certain number.
- Learning the alphabet? Using a Floor Map, use the robot to move from letter to letter to create a word.
3) Is there a way to provide programmable robot kits to kids without screen-time?
- Introducing coding and sequencing doesn’t necessarily have to include screen-time. Young students can go through the process of planning and programming what they want their robot to do through the Engineering Design Process – Ask – Imagine – Plan – Create – Test & Improve – Share.
- Once their plan is in place, programmable robot kits, like KIBO, use screen-free methods, such as wooden building blocks with programmable codes, to command their robot. No screens, yet young kids are learning coding and sequencing!
“Students in the tangible KIBO group scored higher across all four computational thinking categories in comparison to the [screen-based programming] group.” (Pugnali et al., 2017)
KIBO is a the screen-free, programmable robot kit designed for young learners. Its language itself is tangible and concrete. Children, ages 4-7, program KIBO by sequencing physical wooden blocks, similar to familiar educational manipulatives like building blocks and Cuisenaire rods. Coding with KIBO’s wooden blocks requires no screen time for these young learners. Studies with KIBO demonstrate that children benefit from connecting programming concepts to concrete, physical objects, reinforcing learning in an age-appropriate way.
With the KIBO programmable robot kit, you can easily integrate robotics into your classroom to enhance any curriculum or theme with unlimited possibilities. Because KIBO is open-ended and hands-on, your youngest students can learn STEM/STEAM concepts, such sequencing and coding – and bring their robots to life.
Learn the 6 Key Benefits of Using Robotics with Your Youngest Students
Learn more about the benefits of introducing coding, robotics, and engineering into early childhood classrooms. Teaching and integrating robotics and coding is easier than you may think, with hands-on, screen-free tools like KIBO. Get your FREE White Paper today!