KUBO is a fantastic hands-on, screen-free tool to introduce the concepts of computational thinking to young students. KUBO Play is a digital version of KUBO that provides an approach for blended learning by combining both solutions in the classroom or extending learning to home. This blog post will illustrate different ways that KUBO can be used in a blended approach to teaching and learning.
Students can work through the tasks on KUBO Play to learn how to create routes, functions, subroutines and loops. Using KUBO Play will allow students to learn at their own pace. These skills can then be applied and assessed in the classroom using the physical KUBO robot. There is also an option to work with Coding+ and Coding++ within KUBO Play.
Example 1 – Routes
KUBO Play Tasks
Students work through the ‘tasks for routes’ or ‘free play’ on KUBO Play, dragging the TagTiles onto the table and allowing them to experiment just like they do with the hands-on robot. This could be set as homework or just an independent task within the classroom. There is an overview for the teacher to see how students are progressing with the different tasks. This approach has the benefit of allowing learners to develop the skills needed to create a route at their own pace, without the frustration that can often happen when sharing a physical robot.
Students then work in small groups to solve a similar problem in real life. For example, KUBO is starting at the Bus stop and wants to go to the park. The task can be split up to ensure collaboration. One student being the designer, the other student placing the TagTiles®. The students need to discuss their solution, so everyone in the group is in agreement about the chosen route. The focus of this task is to develop communication and collaboration skills.
This can then be developed into a debugging activity. Show the students an image of an incorrect route (example shown in the picture). Use questions such as:
Will this route allow KUBO to travel from the park to the football field? Can you explain why it won’t work? Can you correct this route? This will develop the students’ ability to apply their knowledge and problem solve.
Example 2 – Functions
KUBO Play Task
Students work through the Tasks for Functions on KUBO Play. The concept of Functions will need to be introduced to the students first. This could use the videos within KUBO Play or it might be something you’d prefer to show them in class. Students can be set a minimum number of tasks to complete at their own pace.
In small groups or pairs, students need to write functions to get KUBO from the ‘Bakery’ to the ‘Campfire’. The students will have to discuss possible solutions. Like in task one, it might be worth assigning different roles within the group to ensure good collaboration.
Can they predict where these routes will take KUBO?
How well have they learnt about routes? Can the groups solve problems like these? Do they need to create them with TagTiles to solve?
- Starting at the Library and going to…
- Starting at the Bakery and going to…
Can they debug these routes?
- KUBO starts at the Bus stop and wants to go to the Bakery
- KUBO starts at the Bell and wants to go to the Campfire.
This could form an in-class assessment with the KUBO robot or a follow-up homework exercise with KUBO Play where students take a screenshot of their solutions.
Example 3 – Modelling and problem solving
Computer modelling is used in a whole range of real-life applications. KUBO Play can be used to model a solution to a problem. Example problem: Write a function to get KUBO from the bus stop to school. On the way, KUBO wants to go to the sweet shop and KUBO can only cross the road at the crossings.
Students can use KUBO Play to create their own solutions to the problem, encouraging them to be as creative as possible. Working individually with KUBO Play the students will come up with lots of different solutions. They will need to use ‘Free Play’ to create their solution and they can take a screenshot of their solution to save.
Next put the students into small groups, asking them each to show their solution with the KUBO robot. The students need to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. As a group, they pick just one solution. They can feedback to the whole class and demonstrate their solution and explain why they chose it.
This activity will show students there are lots of ways to solve problems, sometimes the more creative ones can be the most interesting as well as showing the advantages of computer modelling.
To find out more about the ideas and research behind blended learning, see our former blog post.