Although computer programming has been a critical part of our world for over half a century, it can still be difficult to introduce the concepts of programming to a new user. Children, especially, can have trouble grasping the somewhat-abstract concepts of programming until everything “clicks”. Tobbie II, the new coding robot from micro:bit, does an excellent job at building the bridge from programming ideas to action.
Benefits for Growing Children
As everyone knows, programming skills are becoming critical for more and more careers. However, even if a child doesn’t end up in the science or engineering fields, programming carries plenty of benefits that extend to any career path.
Learning to express ideas in machine code is like learning another language. As children work out how to step the robot through programming loops and decision trees, they’ll learn to present their ideas in a clear, concise way.
With the immediate feedback that programming Tobbie II provides, children can immediately figure out if they’ve done something correctly or not. Once they’ve put together a working subroutine, their confidence in themselves will build as they’re reassured they can repeat it going forward.
Working through frustrating problems is a skill that every child needs to learn. In the micro:bit programming environment, errors are helpfully detailed and children are assisted in fixing them. At the end of the day, they won’t even realize they’ve been conquering obstacles, but they’ll hang onto their resilience and face future problems with the same strength.
> STEM exposure
Regardless of what career children eventually end up choosing, it’s likely they’ll have regular interaction with the STEM fields. Getting an idea of how programming works and what to expect can pay major dividends for them down the road.
Building The Robot
While it’s the last time Tobbie II will resemble a traditional toy, the building process itself is the first fun step. Just like putting any other toy together, you’ll need to carefully follow the instructions and get everything in place. Once Tobbie II is constructed with its motor, moving parts, and IR sensor, it’s ready to move on to testing out some programs and teaching you and your children to code!
No Installation Necessary
As soon as a user finishes a set of commands and pushes them to Tobbie II, you’ll see it immediately attempt to follow the instructions. If something doesn’t work, Tobbie will provide feedback on what needs to be changed in the code to get everything running. Tobbie II arrives with 12 programs immediately available for testing (light tracker, rock paper scissors, bowling, and a notice board application). After a short amount of time, you’ll be able to edit these programs into your own versions and immediately see results as Tobbie executes the commands.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s an absolute blast to play with Tobbie II. Whether you’re just getting started and running the onboard programs or putting something together from scratch, working with the robot is fun at any age. Of course, there are dozens of benefits for growing children (even those outside the STEM field) but the foremost is that it’s just fun!
To purchase the Tobbie II coding robot with micro:bit, please click here.
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