The Learning Resources company won its first ever Innovative Toy of the Year TOTY Award for Botley the Coding Robot. Botley, the second member of Learning Resources’ screen-free coding robot family, is for children ages 5-8. Learning Resources also created Code & Go Robot Mouse featuring Colby the Mouse.
Like his rodent cousin Colby, Botley teaches children the basics of sequencing and spatial concepts. However, he goes a step further by using loops and conditionals.
Botley is programmed using a Remote Programmer (a remote control) to code his movements. The Remote Programmer has 4 directional command buttons. Forward and Reverse move Botley one step – each step equals about 8 inches. The Turn Left and Turn Right buttons rotate Botley 90 degrees. On top of the remote is a Transmit button that sends a program to Botley. There is a Clear button that deletes all previously programmed steps. The 2 advanced buttons include Object Detection (for If/Then) and Loop which allows Botley to repeat a sequence.
Children can learn basic sequencing by programming Botley to travel to a specific point. Notice the cards which describe the code to be entered. In the following example, Botley is programmed to catch up to his friend Colby the Mouse. To accomplish this, a child could enter the following sequence:
Forward, Forward, Forward, Left, Forward –> Transmit
Botley can be programmed to move in the pattern of a shape using just 3 buttons. Every time the loop button is pressed, Botley will repeat that sequence.
First, press Clear to delete the previous program. Next enter the following sequence:
Loop, Forward, Right, Loop, Loop, Loop –> Transmit
Can you guess what shape will be created?
Kids can use Botley’s object detection sensor to “see” objects in his path using If/Then.
First, press Clear to delete the previous program. Next, place an obstacle directly in front of Botley. Enter the following sequence:
Forward, Forward, Forward –> Transmit
Notice what happens (clue – there will be a crash!). To avoid this, take advantage of If/Then statements!
Move Botley back to his starting position. Again, place the obstacle directly in Botley’s path.
This time, do not press Clear to delete the previous program. We will add the following code to enable object detection. Now Botley will know what to do when he “sees” an object in his path:
Object Detection Button, Right, Forward, Left –> Transmit
Botley will execute the sequence. Now when Botley “sees” the obstacle, he will go around it and continue his path to complete the original program.
Botley has some secret features that can be discovered by trying out different programs! The company has only shared a few of the secret code. Here is one to try:
Right, Right, Right, Right, Left, Left, Left, Left –> Transmit
Cuteness alert – Botley will get very dizzy! Can you discover any others?
Botley Coding Robot Review