Terrapin Resources

Volume I, Issue 4 ~ April 2023


Bee-Bot Buzz helps you make the most of the Bee-Bot and Blue‑Bot in your school. Learn how to engage students in curriculum concepts and problem-solving using these fun robots and find out how other educators are using them.

In this issue:

  • Ideas for Funding Your Robotics Program
  • How to Use the Bee-Bot and Blue-Bot Sensors
  • Bee-Bot Research with Preschoolers
  • Just For Fun: ChatGPT Creates Bee-Bot Poetry
  • Quick Links to Free Resources

Click to view archives of past Bee-Bot Buzz issues.

Ideas for Funding Your Robotics Program

You want more Bee-Bots! You need to find money to buy more 'bots, curriculum materials (Bee-Bot Lessons, Problem-Solving with Bee-Bot, Pro-Bot Lessons), and maybe some Learning Mats and other accessories. How and where can you come up with the funds? Are discounts available? Here are some ideas and tips.

  • Terrapin offers discounts on bundles: combinations of products that work well together. For example, a Learning Station includes a Bee-Bot or Blue-Bot and a Card Mat. A Class Bundle has 4 Bee-Bots or Blue-Bots, 2 Card Mats, and some accessories. You can also create your own bundle. Read more about bundles.

  • Does your school have a PTA? Attend a meeting and show them your Bee-Bots. Parents are typically very excited to see robots. Include children in your demo, if possible. See if the PTA can allocate some funds or hold a special fundraiser for your program.

  • Check with your principal to see what funds might be available. Sometimes schools receive donations from various sources that you can tap into. For example, some states allow residents to donate funds to schools to offset their taxes.

  • Hold a fundraiser at your school. In Wisconsin, teachers ran a concession stand during high school athletic events to raise money. Read this story.

  • At a "Back to School Night", when parents saw Bee-Bots in action, they came up with the money to purchase 6 more. Read this story.

  • Do a web search for 'STEM grants in my area'. Or check out this page that lists STEM grants for K–12. Grants can require detailed information from you, such as a budget and how you will measure outcomes, and may require matching funds. STEM can be a magic word for gaining funding, so let funders know that these robots teach critical thinking, problem-solving, mathematics, and much more.

  • Companies in your area may offer funding for schools. Look at the websites for your local technology-related businesses and telephone and cable utilities for community involvement, charitable giving, and other related terms.

How have you raised funds for Bee-Bot or Blue-Bot purchases? Please let us know so we can share your strategies in future newsletters.

How to Use Bee-Bot and Blue-Bot Sensors

Every "See & Say" Bee-Bot and Blue-Bot has a proximity sensor that can inspire engaging educational activities. A proximity sensor detects a nearby object without touching it.

How do you tell if you have the "See & Say" version of your robot? It has three switches underneath, as shown in the image at the upper left. (The standard version has just two switches, with no sensors.)

How you can explore the sensors with your students

The Robot Sensor, shown at the left, is an easy way to get started. Turn on the Robot Sensor and follow the instructions to record a message. When Bee-Bot or Blue-Bot gets close, the message plays. Your students will love hearing "Good job!" when their robot reaches its destination. This video shows sensors in action.

Having multiple Robot Sensors expands the possibilities! With a 5-Pack—a 20% discount—many students can explore the sensors at the same time.

Bee-Bot and Blue-Bot can talk to each other, too!

With their sensors turned on, Bee-Bot and Blue-Bot recognize when they are near one another. If they are within 25 cm (about 10 inches) of each other, their lights flash and they make a sound.

To create a custom sound, press the Go button for two seconds, and then speak after the beep. Students could record their name or a greeting to another robot. To erase the recording, press the Clear (X) button for two seconds.

To try this out, place the robots far apart, then program them to move toward each other. When they get close, watch and hear what happens!

Bee-Bot Research with Preschoolers

Dr. Jacob Hall and his colleagues at the State University of NY at Cortland explored the emergence of computational thinking (CT) skills during guided play with Bee-Bots. Participating in this 6-week program were 29 children, ages 3 to 5. The researchers collected data using audio-visual recordings, observations, child focus groups, and child-generated artifacts.

Analysis of this data resulted in 3 primary findings.

  1. Preschool children constructed meaning across CT dimensions (i.e., concepts, practices, and perspectives), and these meaning-making experiences were informed by feedback from the Bee-Bot.
  2. The children connected with others through dialogue and negotiation with peers.
  3. They used guidance from adults to extend their learning.

The results showed the importance of peer dialog as the children:

  • invited others to join them in their play
  • helped peers debug errors
  • modeled how to operate the robot
  • taught peers new sequences
  • discussed the meaning of observations
  • inspired their peers’ creations

Other research has shown that in a study of 21 apps aimed at developing young children’s CT, none of the apps' activities promoted collaboration and sharing. Instead, they noted that “in all studies, coding seems to be a solitary activity.”

In this study, however, conversations between peers were an essential component of children’s play and their emerging CT understandings.

Read Dr. Hall's Customer Story about his research with preschoolers on our website.

Click to read his full research paper, published on 4/15/2022, in TechTrends journal. The paper includes project methodology, quotes from children, case studies, debugging strategies, a discussion of related research, and much more.

In a different setting, Dr. Hall engaged preservice teachers in using Bee-Bots with first graders to draw shapes—even circles—with his unique pen holder. Read details of his journal-published lesson in this Customer Story.

Click the image above to enlarge the

Bee-Bot Murals cards used in this research.

Just For Fun: ChatGPT Creates Bee-Bot and Blue-Bot Poetry

You have probably heard of ChatGPT by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence chatbot that can produce quite remarkable results. We asked ChatGPT to write some poems about Bee-Bots and Blue-Bots. Here is what we got!

Haiku about Bee-Bots:

Tiny Bee-Bots march

Guided by young hands they learn

Coding, fun, and growth

Couplets about Bee-Bots & Blue-Bots:

Bee-Bots buzzing, to and fro,

Children learning as they go.

Blue-Bots, programmed to learn and play,

Explore the world in their own way.

Rhyme About Blue-Bots:

Children gathered 'round the bot,

Learning skills they haven't got,

Programming routes, making plans,

Guiding Blue-Bots with their hands.

Limerick About Bee-Bots:

There once was a Bee-Bot so small,

Whose programming amazed us all,

With clicks and with code,

It moved down the road,

And followed commands without stall.

Sonnet in the Style of Shakespeare:

Oh Bee-Bots, tiny robots of great might,

With buzzing wings and eyes that flash so bright,

They scurry 'cross the floor in programmed flight,

Their purpose clear, their mission to alight.

Their bodies small, but cleverly designed,

A marvel of mechanics, so refined,

They move with ease, their sensors well-aligned,

And leave a trail of wonderment behind.

These little bots are more than just machines,

They teach young minds to think and plan and dream,

With coding skills, they open up new scenes,

And help unleash the power of esteem.

So here's to Bee-Bots, these wondrous things,

They inspire learning and discovery's wings.

Do you want to try it yourself? Create a free account at chat.openai.com/chat!

Quick Links to Free Resources

Bee-Bot Lessons ~ Explore 190 lessons and 580+ online activities for K–2 learners in all curriculum areas. Preview it!

Problem-Solving with Bee-Bot ~ 150 challenges to complete in the classroom or online. Preview it!

New! Pro-Bot Lessons ~ Guided explorations, videos, and tips help teachers learn about this fun 'bot. Students navigate Pro-Bot on the floor or online in dozens of activities. Preview it!

Bee-Bot Online (free) ~ Explore with Bee-Bot in your web browser using a variety of mats.

Blue-Bot Online (free) ~ Choose a skill level and expand learning to include angles and loops.

We Want to Hear from You!

We'd love your feedback on our products and suggestions for new content and features. Send your ideas to beebotbuzz@terrapinlogo.com.

Do you have photos or videos of students using Bee-Bots or Blue-Bots that you have permission to share? We'd love to see them and perhaps feature them in a Bee-Bot Buzz or in a Customer Story on our website.

How were you able to fund robotics purchases? Let us know so we can share your strategies.

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