Technology is something for everyone at Harwich Elementary School. Using Terrapin Logo, Bee-Bots, and Roamer turtle robots, Technology Teacher Larry Brookhart makes sure that students in all the grades get a hands-on technology experience.
The recent addition of Bee-Bots has brought technology experiences to the youngest grades. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grades have constructed a “village” for Bee-Bot to navigate. Students work in teams of 2 to send Bee-Bot around the village roads. Fourth and fifth grade students love using Bee-Bot too. They have developed a “cops and robbers” game with multiple Bee-Bots, using one to chase the other. Strategies include using one Bee-Bot to push obstacles in the way of its pursuer and so escape and win the game.
Students also teach Bee-Bot to navigate a maze. As Mr. Brookhart explains “I take a square piece of foamboard and make three shapes that can be arranged to create a maze. Then the cover is placed over the maze and a student has to figure out the steps to navigate the Bee-bot out of the maze. A variation of this is to use two Bee-bots to travel through the maze without having collisions. The students use the “Pause” button to have one Bee-bot wait while the other passes through and vice versa.”
Students in second grade and higher navigate the Terrapin Logo turtle on the screen after using the floor robots. They start by drawing shapes on the screen and then learn to increase the size and use multiple colors. This exercise culminates in the “laser light show” which students create using rapidly changing shapes and colors. Classroom lights are extinguished and each computer in the lab pulses with bright colors. Students then move on to multiple turtles and create a race game with five turtles. Mr. Brookhart reports he doesn't have to help much because the students are always telling him “we want to figure it out ourselves” and do. Students share techniques they discover and new ideas quickly spread across the class.