BeeBots and Tiny Tots
Tuesday, March 27 4:15-4:30 PM Location: Banneker
Abstract: Awareness of the need to teach computer science and computational thinking concepts to all students has seen growth in momentum worldwide. Numerous programs have a focus on the K-12 space, but there are far fewer efforts targeting the Pre-K level. The KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, has been partnering with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma for the last three years implementing the Junior Botball Challenge (JBC) program (45 schools), which empowers elementary educators to teach their students computational thinking coupled with engineering design and math concepts in the K-6th grades. This paper will describe the development, implementation and lessons learned from the pilot implementation of an adapted JBC program targeting the 3 and 4 yr. old level in Head Start programs. Teacher feedback from the pilot indicates that it is possible to begin teaching computational thinking and computer science concepts at the 3 and 4 year old levels when embedded in the curriculum. In addition, it is evident that school readiness skills, academic standards and central domains can be met by integrating the curricular activities into their daily routines.