As their name suggests, Shaw Scientific is a company who specialise in scientific equipment. However, they have decided to branch out into other classroom equipment, for example Interactive Whiteboards and other technological gadgets. They are distributing products from a UK company called TTS, who make affordable, yet solid products. One of these products is the Bee Bot, which I first used back in teacher training in Wales, and was delighted when I saw Tesco offering them as part of the Computers for Schools Initiative.
Bee-Bot is a robot shaped like a bee. It’s a very simple but brilliant device that allows the user to move the Bee-Bot either forwards or backwards and either turn left or right. It’s best used with a Bee-Bot grid – either a template or a see-through blank. The video below shows an example of the Bee-Bot moving on a blank grid.
In the above example, I had scattered a number of words in different parts of the grid. The child’s job was to move the Bee-Bot to a word with the sound “ai” in it. This is just one example of how a teacher can use the Bee-Bot. Using a street grid, I had an Irish lesson where children had to get the Bee-Bot to a particular building, e.g. an oifig an phoist. They also had to learn the steps in Irish – ar aghaidh a haon, cas timpeal ar chlé, etc. It certainly made the Irish lesson more fun and I think the children got to learn some useful vocabulary.
I believe its original use was to introduce the concept of computer programming to young people. It uses the same command structures as the programming language Logo, i.e. Forwards, Backwards, Left and Right.
I would definitely put this piece of hardware as a must for any school – right up there with a digital camera. It is suitable for all class levels but it also has an older brother called the Pro-Bot, which is shaped like a car but allows you to turn at different angles and do other cool programming stuff that was even a little bit beyond me (well without the manual at least!)
At this stage, I’m not sure how much this device costs but I think it’s about €50-60. You can get one with some Tesco vouchers too and this would be a very wise investment. Congrats to Shaw Scientific for hopping aboard this product (and its Pro-Bot older brother). In my opinion, it’s a definite winner!
Terrific cognitive tool !!!
We have been using Bee-Bot since last year in more than 15 preschool settings (children aged 4-6). Educational scenarios addressing programming issues are implemented by thw teachers in their classes within the context of the European Project Fibonacci. Fibonacci is based on inquiring teaching and learning methodology. The data which collected showed results on development in algorithmic thinking and construction of programmes by preschool children using the Bee-Bot. One point for development we propose is the colour differentiation for PAUSE button.
We love Bee-Bot!
This resource is terrific value for money as it is durable and long lasting. It is useable for children of all ages with or without adult support in a variety of contexts!
"Bee-Bot is a visually attractive, audible easily handle able programmable floor robot which can be used to support the development of skills in a wide range of areas. It allows learners to give a range of instructions from simple to more complex. Pupils with SEN could use it to develop one, two and three stage sequences using a variety of activity mats. It can be used for the development of fine motor skills by using the directional buttons. It can support imaginative play through the use of commercial or school designed covers. It allows learners to demonstrate skills in ways that a traditional approach would not support. A positive ICT resource for Early Years."
I really like the Bee-Bot programmable toy ... It combines the ease of use of [another product] with an attractive look ... The fact that it beeped after every command was liked and ... its small size meant that it was more practical to use..."