Before I had children I worked as a computer programmer for a large bank. I had no experience of programming at all and had to learn on the job. My own children will have a very different experience as computers are obviously much more a part of daily life and there are many tools available to help children learn the skills needed to code.
We’ve been testing the Robot Mouse Activity Set from Learning Resources for the last couple of weeks and I’m pleased to say it’s been a big hit, both in my house and in a coding club I have been running at a local school.
Colby the robot mouse is a fantastic, hands on and visually appealing way to introduce coding to kids as well as helping to develop critical, logical and analytical thinking, spacial skills, teamwork and lots more.
The set includes:
- 16 plastic base pieces
- 22 plastic maze walls
- 3 tunnel pieces
- 30 double sided coding cards
- 20 Sequence cards to plot and track the mouse’s path to the cheese
- Multilingual activity guide
The programmable mouse has 2 different speeds and 5 instructions. Children can either follow patterns on the activity cards to create mazes or make up their own. Colby also works on the floor and other surfaces. The activity cards are of differing levels of difficulty, children can work through them from the beginning to build confidence and coding skills or as my children did, just launch straight into the harder ones!
Colour coordination action cards can be used to help children plan the instructions they need to program Colby to get to his cheese.
As well as forward, backwards, right and left Colby has an action button where he does one of the following random actions.
• SPIN AROUND (ROTATE to the RIGHT 360 degrees)
• Loud “SQUEAAKK”
• CHIRP-CHIRP-CHIRP (and light-up eyes!)
My girls think this is amazing and it also adds an extra fun dimension to the code.
Colby stops when he reaches the cheese, my 9 year old also uses the cheese to stop Colby when he knows his code has gone a bit wrong!
All in all we are very impressed with the Robot Mouse Activity set, it’s wonderfully visual, hands-on and easy to set up and use. We would definitely recommend it for home and school use.
The STEM Robot Mouse Activity set is available for £50 and an Extra Robot Mouse for £25
Possible Learning Objectives
- Direction and use of directional language – forwards, backwards, through, move, go, turn, rotate, number of degrees in a turn.
- Whole, quarter, half and three quarter turns
- Understand that a computer follows precise commands.
- Ordering a sequence of events.
- Importance of resetting a program or considering what is already programmed.
- To be able to plan and predict the behaviour of a program using logical reasoning.
- To be able to communicate that program to others.
- Work as a team to plan a robot route and solve problems.
Curriculum links – Maths and Computing
Ask children to follow a set of instructions, for example, get up, walk to the door, open door and close door.
Repeat with the order of instructions mixed up to demonstrate why the order is so important.
Discuss how code is a set of planned instructions.
Learning Resources kindly sent us this set to review.