Inspiration came to Marybeth Green
while watching elementary school children play with Bee-Bots
and create stories. She and colleague Lisa McNair of Texas A&M University
designed a research project to study the impact Bee-Bots
have on developing literacy skills.
Working at an elementary school once a week for six weeks, they introduced students to Bee-Bot in the first session. Each subsequent week, they took a different story mat, read a related story, then had students write their own story and program Bee-Bot to tell it.
"At the end, our statistical analysis showed that the stories overall from the last session were significantly different from the beginning. Of most interest was how much change had taken place. We found that Setting had a large change from the beginning to the end."
They theorize that children use their knowledge of the world to make robots move, engaging in the task as if they were in the world of the story mat. Also, sequencing is an important part of coding, which is another reason why programming led to more advanced storytelling.