We head all the way over to Hawaii, where a group of tech-savvy preschoolers have been using Cubetto in a slightly different way. Check out how they’re programming Cubetto to make their own artistic masterpieces!
Institution: Computational Thinkers
Location: Hawaii, USA
Age group: 1st grade (6 years old)
Session leader: Ms. Rozie Breslin
Date: January – March 2016
“It is a great hands-on lesson for students to understand that ‘software tells the hardware what to do, using code.’”
How did you incorporate the Cubetto Playset into your program?
I first used Cubetto to help the students understand the terms algorithm, function, and loop. I showed the students a short video on Cubetto, and it got them very excited to explore and play!
What activities did you do using the Cubetto Playset?
Together with the students, we explored Cubetto and his functions. We figured out what instruction each block-function controlled, how Cubetto moved, and how to utilize the loop. We then decided to turn Cubetto into an artist by attaching marker pens to him.
What were the main outcomes?
The students fell in love with Cubetto right out of the box. First I gave the students requirements, like getting Cubetto through a maze and back home. After they got more familiar with the way Cubetto moved, we turned him into a drawing-machine! The students figured out how to make basic shapes (circle, rectangles, squares) and made an overall image out of them.
What skills did Cubetto help develop?
Cubetto helped the students understand algorithms and how they follow exact step-by-step instructions. The students learned that the instructions have to be precise, in order, and as efficient as possible to get Cubetto to his destination. The students could visually see any mistakes they made (if Cubetto went too far, or turned the wrong way) which helped them debug their algorithm.
Cubetto also helped the students understand the importance of designing and planning. You cannot just begin programming him to draw a picture if you do not have a prior image in mind. The students had to map out exactly where they wanted each part of the picture Cubetto would draw, and figure out how to get there.
At the end of the drawing with Cubetto lesson, the students were proud to say, “I am a programmer.”
Did your group include any children with special needs? If so, how well did they engage with Cubetto?
Though not clinically diagnosed, one student did exemplify delayed learning behaviors. With Cubetto, the student seemed to stay more engaged in the exercise compared to our traditional classwork.
Overall, what worked well? What were the successes?
My older students love seeing a visual result of their work. I wanted to the same for my younger students but that’s hard for younger children who are still not ready for writing text-based code. So, before my younger class started, I experimented with Cubetto and found a way to make him draw his code out visually. I knew the students would love to see their programming skills drawn out on paper.
Any memorable quotes from the children?
Sasha, female, 6 years. “I love making Cubetto draw! He is so cute. I am a programmer!”