Modification of the Toolkit activity ”Children programming each other as bluebots”
As a result of teachers trying out the different activities in the botSTEM toolkit, the practices are modified and adapted to the different child groups. In the original version of the activity “Children programming each other as bluebots”, three children worked together as one observer, one programmer and one ‘bluebot’, programmed on the back to walk a path of arrows.
In Sweden, a preschool teacher modified the activity and simplified the arrangement by concentrating it to the arrow path. The preschool children did not program each other but instead just followed paper arrows on the floor. In addition to the original activity, the teacher added instructions alongside some of the arrows on the papers, inviting the children to e.g. “jump three steps forward”, with reading-aid from the teacher.
The teacher had also added some papers with question marks, allowing the children to choose for themselves what command they wanted to perform. This quickly became the most popular instruction on the path!
The children chose different physical activities according to their own preference, such as to cartwheel, turn somersaults or jump, and continued the activity by collaboratively creating their own ‘arrow paths’ for their peers to walk.
The teacher’s use of question marks and of children’s own creative ideas added a free and fun inquiry step to the original activity.
The experiences made during implementations of the botSTEM activites add to the discussion about how teachers can scaffold preschool children’s inquiry and learning of programming and integrated STEM. Further implications for preschool practice are being discussed in the ongoing project.