The new National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 says children should:
- Understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
- Create and debug simple programs
- Use logical reasoning to predict behaviour of simple programs
It’s perhaps best to first consider what experiences children could have before they start testing with robots.
Suggested Programming Activity 1:
Practise giving each other instructions to move around the school hall. Focus on:
- What language is needed
- Which words or commands to use
- How few comments can be used
- How hard it is for the child being the robot to follow the instructions exactly
At this stage, it is beneficial to introduce children to floor robots. Bee-Bots are an excellent way for younger children to be introduced to programming.
Suggested Programming Activity 2:
This is a straightforward activity that will encourage the children to count forwards and back, as well as make predictions.
- If you program Bee-Bot to move six steps forward and then two steps back, where will it end up?
- If it starts on two, moves back one then forwards two, where will it get to?
These cards provide the ideal opportunity to introduce some of the technical vocabulary of computing, i.e. ‘program’ and ‘debug’
Suggested Programming Activity 3:
- To extend more able pupils, take away some of the instruction cards (e.g. all of the forward and right turn instruction cards) to see if they can still solve the challenges.