Moving E.a.R.L with a purpose (part 2)
To continue on from part one of the ‘Moving E.a.R.L with a purpose’ blogs, we wanted to introduce a short exercise to explain how our E.a.R.L programming robot can be used to explore more complex algorithm practices for younger Key Stage 1 children.
An algorithm is a sequence of instructions to do something and can also be described as the steps to solve a problem. By pressing the buttons on E.a.R.L, children take part in the process of creating their first computing algorithms! In part one, we focused on basic back and forth movements, now we move on to adding turns and multiple commands.
Using all of E.a.R.L’s direction buttons
This activity has the best results with groups of two or three, if you only have one E.a.R.L – it can be done as a class exercise. You’ll be able to use a variety of mats for this lesson, dependent on which part of the curriculum you’re focusing on.
Have children select a starting square and a direction in which E.a.R.L should always face – mark this with a piece of paper, tape or a sticker as a reminder for each time the activity restarts. The children should then challenge each other to reach a certain ‘destination’ or square on the mat, the solution is always found by trial and error. Each time the robot takes a wrong turn or misses the destination, have the group reset the memory on E.a.R.L and simply try again from the beginning!
When the children are comfortable with continuously reaching the end of the first task (you can have them reach it three times in a row to pass), then it’s time to add a secondary destination square e.g. can you reach square Y by going through square X?
Building algorithms with E.a.R.L to understand shapes
By adding the 2D shape E.a.R.L floor mat into your plans, you’ll be able to do this exercise in a way which explores the understanding of shapes. You’ll be able to direct children simply, in terms of shapes e.g. “let’s start on the green triangle” and “can we move from the green triangle to the red square?”
Building algorithms with E.a.R.L to understand the alphabet
When it comes to alphabet and teaching English concepts, E.a.R.L is perfect when teamed up with his alphabet floor mat or phonics floor mat. In the same way, you can ask your groups to spell out certain words using E.a.R.L to find the letters on the mat e.g. “can you spell the word ‘bag’ by starting on the letter ‘b’?” or moving to phonics – give the children the sounds you’d like them to go to or even give them a word and ask them to navigate to the phonics that make up the sounds in the word!
The outcomes from these simple exercises are that children will seamlessly expand their knowledge around shapes, the alphabet and phonics whilst staying engaged with our fun, floor robot E.a.R.L.