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Getting started with KUBO

Pam Jones,
Educational Content Developer
United Kingdom

You have decided to add KUBO as your hands-on learning tool for computing into the classroom, so what are the next steps?

It is important to ensure you have time to explore how to use KUBO and the TagTiles® before applying them in the classroom. This blog is about how to approach this new tool and explore and learn how it works.

Step 1 – Explore the contents

Your set will include:

  • KUBO head and body
  • Charging cable
  • Map and Blank Map
  • Selection of TagTiles

The jigsaw map connects to create the map for KUBO to move on. This allows students to have a visual aspect to allow the programs created to move KUBO from one position to another, giving the program a meaning.

Step 2 – What do the TagTiles mean?

There is a range of TagTiles within the box and understanding them is key to applying their use effectively in the classroom.

Movement TagTiles

These can be placed in any order to program KUBO to move in different directions. 

  • Forward
  • Left
  • Right

The TagTiles can be placed directly onto the mat to create a route for KUBO to follow. In this example KUBO has a route mapped out from its starting position to in front of the bakery.

Function TagTiles

Each program needs to have a start and a stop.

A play TagTile is used to tell KUBO when to run the program.

In this example, the program has been created away from on the mat and the side. 

  • This program has a start and end using the blue function TagTiles.
  • The program will move forward x 2 and then turn right.

KUBO is placed on the start TagTile and will move over all instructions until it reaches the end TagTile and knows the program has finished. 

KUBO will remember the program until you place it on the play TagTile, then KUBO will run the program and follow the program instructions.

Loop TagTiles

TagTiles Blog

The loop TagTile has three parts:

  1. The Loop and number of iterations go at the start.
  2. The contents of the loop are the instructions you want to be repeated
  3. The loop needs to be closed so the program knows to move on.

A loop is used to repeat movement instead of having the same instruction repeated. An example of this is programming KUBO to move in a square. 

Using a loop makes the program more efficient as the number of instructions has been reduced. In programming the smaller the number of instructions generally the more efficient the code is.

Step 3 – Using Computing Terms effectively

Glossary

When using a computing tool like KUBO it is essential to use the correct terminology to ensure the learning is taking place with the hands-on approach. 

When the student is creating and running programs ensure that the terms are used correctly and consistently for the students to link the concepts with the application of KUBO.

Algorithm
  • An algorithm is the planned program mapped out as a step by step instructions in a precise order. 
  • With KUBO, you could plan out the program as an algorithm using drawings of the instructions or write the instructions in a list. 
Program
  • A program is an algorithm created as a working program.
  • In KUBO, you create a program when you connect the TagTiles.
Loop
  • A loop is a repeated action.
  • In KUBO, you can use the loop TagTiles to repeat instructions.
Sequence
  • The sequence of the instructions is important to ensure the program does what it is expected to do.
  • In KUBO, when you use the map to get from one position to the other the route is a sequence that has to be in order to get there successfully.
Debugging
  • When something does not work as expected, debugging is the process of finding and fixing the error.
  • In KUBO, if it is not moving along the right route or desired movement, then looking at the individual instructions and working out the error to fix is debugging.

Step 4 – What Next?

The next step is to have fun and enjoy creating problems for your students to solve using Kubo and the TagTiles.

  • Use the map to create problems to get from one position to another.
  • Can they find an alternative route?
  • Can a loop be used to make the program more efficient?
  • Investigate KUBO MapMaker to create your own maps to use and ask the students to do the same.
  • Create problems for each other to challenge and work collaboratively.
  • Create a competition or challenge.
  • Investigate the imaginative ideas within KUBO’s blog pages.
  • Create a costume to bring Kubo alive in a retelling of a story.

The possibilities are endless and the joy and engagement that come from a hands-on learning tool are limitless.

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