Teaching Python

We're two middle school teachers learning and teaching Python

Our Top 5 Bots for the Computer Science Classroom

Robots have become an integral part of the Computer Science Curriculum in many schools, from cute caterpillars to humanoid ML Robots. They play an essential piece in intriguing, engaging, and activating the excitement in kids of all ages. Here are five of our favorite robot friends that we use for our K - 8 learners at our school.

  • Code-A-Pillar - This eight-segment robot is sure to get your youngest learner having fun and into coding. This bot has eight segments of coded parts that will send the robot in the direction pictured. Place the segments in a specific order, and watch how the segment lights up during each action. Kids get an early understanding of sequencing, problem-solving by doing, and critical thinking.

  • Dash - This quirky bot loves to roll around and make fun noises as the learners code them. Dash has so many advanced features that are used to teach a wide variety of computational thinking skills. In addition, this hearty bot is versatile, comes with four free apps and a wide variety of cool add-ons for more playing fun. Learners can practice learning about loops, sequencing, command algorithms, and conditions. For a slightly more advanced bot with different dialogue, check out Dash’s friend Cue. Cue offers a bit more than Dash, with an interactive AI feature, text-based coding in Javascript and Wonder, and a plethora of jokes and responses.

  • Spike Prime is one of our newest friends, and they have stolen my heart. These bots are super sturdy and allow for a variety of bot friends to be designed and coded. With a superb integration with Python, what more can a Pythonista ask for in a bot? How about a solid curriculum to boot? Lego Education provides many ideas and lesson plans that will help you integrate computer science with engineering, science, math, social-emotional skills, and more. Students can follow along with typical lego instructional guides or get creative and build their own creations. The Spike Editor is super sleek and straightforward, and the sidebar service menu of quick Python commands helps students recall and use Python to code their bot more efficiently.

  • RoboMaster- Want a bot that will get students in the door of your Robot club? Then the RoboMaster is your bot. Sleek, modern, and full of appeal, the Robomaster has everything you need to intrigue learners. This omnidirectional moving bot has speed and can be coded in Scratch or Python! Learners can practice high-level math and Physic concepts and AI technology. With a large set of commands, learners can program light effects, movements, and so much more.

  • AWS DeepRacer We love this bot! With a virtual feature and some background knowledge of machine learning and AI, AWS scores big on this bot! AI is here to stay, and with six sample projects included on the AWS website, you can have this bot moving and rolling around a designed track in just a few hours of ML training. This bot does take some learning, though. I have spent some time learning on the AWS Machine Learning Foundations Course, and it has been beneficial for my understanding of python and Artificial Intelligence.