Classroom Best Practice  |  

5 Inspiring Coding & Robotics Challenges from Our Teacher Community

Jan 23, 2018

Here at Wonder Workshop, we are proud of the teacher community that surrounds us, united by a passion for teaching computer science to our youth in a fun and engaging way. The ideas that teachers share with us, often through our Twitter feed, never cease to inspire and impress us.

We wanted to take a moment to curate and share some of these inspiring ideas with the rest of the community. To keep up with all that’s shared in real time, follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook page for educators, follow us on Pinterest, or follow us on Instagram. Also, be on the lookout for the hashtags #dashanddot and #WLRC for our Wonder League Robotics Competition.

1) Snowplow Activity

With all of the snow drifting down over the past several weeks, we loved this snowplow idea from The Digital Scoop.Make sure you instruct your students that they are not allowed to pick up Dash; they must use code to move Dash around!

Clearing the patch of ALL of the snow is harder than it looks!

2) Battle Bots — Balloon Edition

Kaitlin Klein, a STEAM educator from San Jose, CA, posted pics and video of her students’ Dash robots engaged in an intense Battle of the Bots. She writes, “We did this as a back-to-school after break activity. They used skewers, a balloon, and tape to create a Battle Bot, using Dash robots. Then they competed in rounds to pop the balloons of other battle bots. The surviving bots from each round competed in the finals.”

She also explains that the students used blue painter’s tape to attach the skewers to Dash and put LEGOs on Dash’s ear attachments to attach the balloons.

Click through to the Twitter post to watch the video! It’s amazing.

3) Dashketball!

We are always up for a round of Dashketball. This Twitter post from Chelsie Grant, a fourth-grade teacher from Leesburg, VA, shows an impeccable implementation of the Basketball Challenge. There are a multitude of ways to extend the challenge and increase its level of difficulty. For starters, you can require that students start the challenge with Dash facing backwards.

Cross-curricular lessons like Dash’s Basketball Challenge are available as part of our Code to Learn Lesson Library. Check it out today for more inspiring ideas! Several of the lesson plans are accessible for free.

4) Rescue a Tom Brady Bobblehead Figure from a Blizzard!

In the category of snow removal, we also found this creative idea from first-grade teacher Mrs. Goldberg. Place a bobblehead figure of your choice in the middle of a grid mat, surround the figure with “snow” in the form of cotton balls, and set the challenge of clearing the snow and rescuing the figure.

Looking for ideas for creating mats like the one pictured here? Mrs. Goldberg created her own mat design, and her school district had it printed on vinyl. We’ve created guidelines for producing an official mat for the Wonder League Robotics Competition; they can be found here. You can use our file, or tweak it and make it your own and then have it printed on 13 oz. vinyl. Need a mat on a budget? This post also describes ways to go totally DIY for great results.

5) Play an Oscar-Winning Score!

We love this Twitter post by Eric Vieira from Cerritos, CA. He managed to program Dash to play the “Imperial March” from the Star Wars soundtrack! Having students pick out their favorite melody on the xylophone and then program Dash to play the tune is a great way to teach and test skills related to sequencing and loops.

The xylophone accessory is included in the Wonder Pack and can also be purchased separately.

We also love this video showing Dash playing “The Carol of the Bells” with a little help from Dot and another Dash.

Do you have activities, lessons, photos, or videos you’d like to share? Make sure you include @WonderWorkshop in your Twitter posts and use hashtags #dashanddot, #xylo, and #WLRC!