Terrapin Resources

The Logo Turtle

The original turtle that was used during the development of the Logo language at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was a mechanical device that did somewhat resemble a turtle. About the size and shape of the upper half of a basketball, this turtle could be controlled from a computer keyboard. It could move forward and back, turn, and even leave a trail by drawing with a pen strapped beneath it. Mechanical turtles and robotic devices, which can be programmed through your computer or independently, are available today. Terrapin offers small Bee-Bot robots that integrate wonderfully with Kinderlogo.

As technology advanced, the introduction of computer monitors reduced the three-dimensional robotic turtle to a triangular image on the screen. As screen resolution and computer power increased, the turtle took on more of a turtle shape. The same commands could be used as with the robotic turtle and the cost was much lower. Thus the Logo “turtle” has become accessible to more children.

Before introducing the screen turtle to your children, talk about turtles in general. Show pictures of a real turtle. Read a story about make-believe turtles to young children. Introduce factual information about turtles and their habits to older children. (Check with your local librarian for appropriate books.)

The turtle has now become a two-dimensional image. Line drawings of turtle or cartoon character turtles complete the transition from a real object to a symbolic representation.

After talking about turtles and their characteristics, introduce your students to the Kinderlogo “turtle.” The children can now make comparisons between the real and symbolic turtle on the screen.