“You mean we get to TOUCH the ROBOTS?!” 🤖 💕
As part of our robotics unit, kindergarten students got up close and personal with their first set of robots this week! We used a beloved, classic story to ground this unit in literacy and bring the story to life.
We started by sharing The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Most students know this story so well, they can say it with me as I read through the book! After finishing the story, it was time to work together to feed our very hungry CODE-a-Pillars! For this week’s lesson, we’re using the Code-a-Pillar robots from Fisher Price. Kindergarten is split into smaller groups, and each team of 5 or 6 students has their own Code-a-Pillar to work with. Each teammate has a role and in order to get their Code-a-Pillar to their snack, the whole team has to collaborate. The role breakdown that works best for us is the robot start handler, the food handler, the coder, the robot code handler, and the robot finish handler. Each team member wears a lanyard with their role on it in case they forget. I set a timer for every 5 minutes while they work, and each time the buzzer goes off, they switch roles so they each get the chance to try different jobs.
I love this lesson and the way it takes a book my students know and love and turns it into a totally new challenge! In my experience, using robotics doesn’t take away from the magic of storytime at all – students are still completely engaged in the story, paying attention to the text and the pictures, and ready to answer questions or dive deeper into the text. Then by adding computer science and collaborative skills into story time, we’re bringing the story to life and stretching what our youngest readers see as literacy and library time.