Collaborative Coding with Robots in the Lower School

by Technology Integrationist Jennifer Zacharis

This piece was originally published on the Erikson Institute – Technology in Early Childhood Center website, which featured Educators who were connecting the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs to their practice.

Students working with Kibo robots.

Here at The Pike School students as young as four are exposed to the concept of programming. In our lower school the KIBO Robot, by KinderLab Robotics has become the “toy” that is perfect for introducing this kind of learning.  

Through the act of arranging blocks to create a program and then scanning the commands with their robot, our students send their KIBO on a journey spinning, shaking, blinking lights and singing songs along the way.  There are so many ways to use this tool as an age-appropriate introduction to coding, with its easy to understand symbols on blocks that reinforce the basics of more complicated word based programming for older students.

Students bowling using Kibo robots.

A recent first grade bowling activity where students programmed their robots to travel and knock down plastic bowling pins, provided the opportunity to practice measurement, prediction, logical thinking and iteration in a fun goal-oriented way. During all KIBO activities, we watch as collaborative play launches kids into the role of young engineers who imagine, plan and problem solve situations with their peers, eventually preparing our students for more complex intellectual investigations and social negotiations that will be needed for a new era of innovation.  

To see a Kibo Robot challenge in action with our students, please click this link.