How to Implement ClicBot Robot in the Classroom
Clicbot is a kit that allows you to build up to 1,000 different robots. In the kit you will find different joints, wheels and sensors to allow students to build racers, life helpers, or even friends. The Clicbot is incredibly easy to use. To create their own robots, students simply take the different parts and ‘click’ them together. The resource is perfect for the pre-school, elementary and secondary classroom as it supports progression from motion programming to block programming to HTML coding. There are many opportunities for cross-curricular use that we will explore in this article.
Subject link: Science
Clicbot racing is a great activity to teach students about how air resistance, friction and weight all effect speed. Recommended for students aged 9-12, this fits perfectly with science units focused on understanding concepts of motion. Ask students to use their understanding of motion to design and create a Clicbot race car. The students can then test the performance of their race car, analyze its effectiveness and identify improvements that could be made to the design, such as changing the shape to reduce air resistance, changing the weight of the design, changing the number of wheels in the design or using a different material to cover the wheels and reduce friction. After this, students would retest their car’s speed and continue to make iterations until it is race-ready. Build the students’ excitement with and see which race car wins in a whole-class race. Allow the students to then compare the results and identify the fastest Clicbots, then analyze the designs and work out the theory behind the fastest Clicbot racer.
Subject link: English
Another great activity with Clicbots is using them to better understand conditional clauses in English. Conditional clauses are essential language commands in programming. Passwords are an example of conditionals in action: if the password is correct, then the user can enter the website. This language structure is also a fundamental language pattern in English and is also one that learners struggle with the most. Using the Clicbot, students simply need to attach the sensor so it is facing them and then program the Clicbot to respond in a certain way if something happens. For example, if the student waves left, then the Clicbot moves to the left. Students would achieve this by using the block programming tool to program with a conditional ‘if’ code block. The students have endless possibilities to program their Clicbot to complete more complex (and fun!) actions, such as turning the Clicbot into a dog and programming it that if you spin your fingers, then the dog should drop and roll over. Students can take control of how Clicbot acts, while having the opportunity to visually understand the meaning of conditional clauses.
Subject link: Maths
Another great activity for students to engage with Clicbots in the classroom is through learning about rotation. Clicbots allow students to rotate the joints at the same direction and the same speed. Students could take six joints, stack them together, add the base and the head and then rotate the individual joints to make a twisted Clicbot. In addition to simply rotating the joints, students will need to decide the direction in which the joints should move (clockwise or anticlockwise) and how fast they want them to move, which involves the students developing and applying their understanding of percentages in a rel life situation. After pressing play, the students will be able to see how the body of the Clicbot changes and how the direction and speed of the rotation effected it. This is a great activity for students aged 10-14 as it allows them to explore more complex mathematical concepts, and understand the theory behind them, in a practical, hands-on way.
The Language of Direction
Subject link: English
Bring Clicbots into Early Years, with this fun activity to help young students develop their understanding of position and direction and the key language associated with it. The Clicbot comes with a sensor that the teacher can pre-program so that it moves when the students point in a specific direction. Get the students active in their learning by making a maze on the floor with masking tape and asking the students to navigate their Clicbot through the maze by pointing in the correct direction. Enhance students’ use of directional language (left, right, forward, backwards) by asking them to talk through the directions they are moving in through the maze. Being active and engaged will help students to better understand directions, as well as introducing them to the basics of coding.
Subject link: Science
Enhance students’ understanding of animals and their features and adaptations with this great Clicbot activity. Students can research the features of certain animals and how they move and try to recreate them using the Clicbot. Students will need to identify the animals’ joints, how their joints connect to other body parts and whether the animal needs legs and feet to move. For instance, students can build a caterpillar with long stacked joints that help it to crawl along the floor by moving its body parts up and down, make animals with different numbers of limbs or use the suction cup wheels to recreate the movement of animals such as geckos that can stick on a surface. Extend the students by asking them to apply their learning to design their own unique animal and watch them improve their understanding of different animals types through these engaging and hands-on learning experiences.
The Clicbot has so many possibilities to link to various curriculum areas. With its limitless designs, there are many cross-curricular links to be made and it can be used to support the learning of students of all ages. While it may be a relatively new resource, its opportunities are endless.