Tablets, Coding, robots, and problem-solving. Not a bad way to get kids excited about learning. If it involves technology in some way, the kids are engaged. If you add in a couple of cute robots, the kids will be involved – even if they do not want to be.
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Dash and Dot are my first set of robots I have used as a teacher. They were created and developed by Wonderworks and can be purchased through Amazon. I have a single pair with the basic attachments. I was able to purchase a beginner kit. The kit comes with one Dash, one Dot, a xylophone, and a couple other pieces to be able to pull Dot or turn them into singers or rabbits.
Dash and Dot can be programmed to interact with each other. This can be done freely through several apps that are available to be used with them. Blockly is an app that is often used for free play with Dash and Dot. Students can program them as they wish. Path is another that enables students to learn what each of the commands will do for Dash or Dot. Xylo is the App that is used to program the songs for Dash to play. Dash is able to move around based on the Code he is programmed with. However, Dot does not move. They can have Legos attached to them as well via attachment pieces.
I have enjoyed allowing my students to program Dash and Dot. One activity my second-grade students completed was to have Dash and Dot show the time they were given. They used Dash to move to the minutes while they set Dot on the hour they had. With a tape outline of a clock on the floor, the pairs of students had to place the hour and minute hands in the correct positions before they had Dash move to the minute hand.
Another activity I had fourth-grade students complete was to design and create an obstacle course for Dash to maneuver through. Dot could be part of the obstacle course. Several students chose to make him an interaction point for Dash. The students were to work in pairs and had to problem solve to get Dash to move correctly through their course.
As with anything technology, students are always actively engaged. They have to think about each little step they are programming and learn very quickly that they can not forget the little steps. They learn to work collaboratively. Sometimes there are disagreements, but they have learned that I will offer guidance, but not a solution for their discussion. I will point out possible problems and make a suggestion, but I will leave them to come to final solutions on their own.
This year’s students are eagerly looking forward to additional projects involving Dash and Dot. Anything from acting out a story to creating a song or even problem solving, then programming Dash and Dot for a math problem is among ideas for upcoming activities.
In an age when students are so dependent on technology, the more interactive and interesting for them to be able to problem solve and learn will be better for them. Dash and Dot are an entertaining, yet easy way to keep them engaged to learn those skills.
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