There are a large number of ready made BeeBot Resources available from TTS, these include floormats, sequencing cards and a host of other accesories. We have purchased a number of these to support topic and theme based activity in class, and they go down really well with the students. The Focus on BeeBot Software is something I also recommend strongly, it not only enables on screen work to be developed from floor work with the students, but also has proven really useful, in beginning to enable colleagues to see the value of turtle work as a cross curricular tool. A 30 day trial download of the software can be made from the site above. Included in the package are a number of the floor mats as onscreen mazes, which we have used with the IWB during Numeracy and Literacy Sessions, to promote discussion about the properties of common shapes and to develop phonological awareness. What is also interesting is how the students react to being able to switch views to see the board as the BeeBot sees it. I have recently bought a site licence for this and am looking forward through coaching activities to further developing the use of this tool in Foundation and KS 1 classes.
In addition to the commercially available materials however I have also begun to introduce the idea of using resources we have available already to support BeeBot work in class. Did you know for example that BeeBots like to count. Creating Bus Stop type journeys (as in the Suffolk Empty Number Line Project) for the BeeBot, has enabled group activities to be developed around the use of number lines, and to begin seeing the forward movement of the turtle as addition and the backward movement as subtraction. The BeeBot and Number line have also been used to develop problem solving within the difference model and through for example, our Beebot is thinking of/ is on or at a number, if he counts on, adds, count's back, subtracts X he stops on Y, what number is he thinking of, or where is he? As seen in earlier posts it is also possible to make sequencing and theme based games quite easily, not only as a staff, but also with the students themselves taking an active role in the process.
Estimating, predicting and measuring using non standard units is also a useful mathematical role for the BeeBot, and with our year 1 students I used again the BeeBot Boogie mats we had developed for Y2, but this time to encourage turn taking, social play, prediction and testing within Ma 1. Ma 1 (Using and Applying Mathematics) is central to the New Primary Framework for Mathematics, and the ability to develop concrete visualisation and problem solving strategies, particularly in the context of shape space and measures can be supported through engagement of the students in practical activities supported by this versatile tool. Ideas such as right and left, linear measure, simple fractions, compass direction can all be introduced, or become inherent concepts within activities supported by beebot activity.
At the beginning of this term I used iBoard Purple activities to introduce our overall control unit in Y1, and to conclude we revisited and spent time working with the age specific tools in the iBoard red set, which require a focus on navigating mazes with greater accuracy, and introduce eighths of a turn. It was fascinating to see the students applying floor based work to their onscreen activity, and using taught strategies to think about and identify right and left turns. In other posts I have mentioned the use of gesture, as an indicator, and during these sessions I was really aware of this as evidence of learning, transferring physical whole and part body movements to thoughts about the inputs required to move the mouse, spaceship, bee, and frog about the screen. My Learning Support Assistant and had a great deal of fun engaging with the students with their games, and listening to the cheers, whoops and celebrations, (which attracted some attention from neighbouring classrooms too, OOPS!) Collecting fuel tanks, feeding the hungry frog before his food flew away, and the disappointment when he fell off the lily pads and into the pond were more than visibly evident around the room. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then I strongly recommend you check out the "Which Way, and "Control It" resources in the online trials of the software, which can be found following this link.