This year in the Pinellas County School District in Florida, the Bee-Bots are coming!
The fundamentals of coding for computers will be introduced to the youngest students this year through small, friendly robots known as “Bee-Bots”. 100 of the robots have been purchased for use in kindergarten classrooms.
“With kindergartners, everything is experiential,” said Shana Rafalski, Pinellas’ executive director for elementary education. “If you make it fun, that’s the background knowledge you’re going to build off of when you reintroduce it later on.”
On the bee’s backs, there are arrow keys which students press to tell the bee which direction to go. They learn a basic set of commands for programming. The Bee-Bots move in six inch steps, and 90 degree turns.
The purpose is to prime students for more complicated coding later, by teaching estimation, sequencing, and problem solving.
Rafalski says that teachers have been trained in the coding procedures, and students will not be assessed for programming skills. She believes that basic coding should be included in math classes.
“Knowing how to code is something that’s really important in the workforce,” she said.