Teacher Application Teacher Network

TCEA TATN Lesson Plan 2008

Karen North

Houston ISD


Brief Description

Walk like a bee, dance with the bees, and go beyond PowerPoint, beyond word processing into Bee-Bot-Worlds of brain processing. 


Unit Overview

Learn how to use Science, Technology, Engineering and Math STEM tools for computer science education, the emerging 21st century academic area.  Lessons for K-8 CS education are being developed by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the International Society for Technology Education Computing Teachers (ISTE SIGCT). Computing curriculum lessons go beyond office applications by bringing computational thinking and programming back to the elementary school classroom. 


Twenty years ago students used LOGO and the Turtle as it came free on Apple IIE’s.  This unit reintroduces computer science and programming using a robot that looks like a bee. This is a tool to teach sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving to start. Young children are only limited by their creativity and innovation when putting into practice what they are learning in their classroom. Lessons include competencies from the Technology Application TEKS, National Educational Technology Standards ISTE NETS, and the Computer Science Teacher’s Association K-12 CSTA Level I Curriculum. They learn with both the physical robot and software in a virtual world of activities where the robot can be programmed to move about.  “The Bee Brain” lesson teaches input/output devices, processing and feedback by correlating these with six simple commands: go, forward, backward, right turn, left turn and pause. The activities include Brain Processing and Programming, Walk like a Bee – The Number Line, Race with the Bees, The Spelling Bee, and Dancing with the Bees.


Students will learn about computer science as a career option.  There is a major shortage of computing professionals; introducing computing concepts is way to spark the interest of young students.  The goals will be accomplished by using software from which includes lesson activities enhanced with step-by-step lessons posted online at under the ES link.  Not only will students learn to develop an algorithm, Math TEKS will be reinforced through practice.  Science connections to Bees can be used for content in creating digital story books.  The application of TAKS content is only limited by the creative minds of K-2 students and the teacher’s reinforcement of their individual interests.  This is part of the creative problem solving and design tools series of interactive lessons for K-12 CS.



o        126.2 (a) (2) Acquisition and use of information

o        126.2 (b) (2) Data Input Skills

o        126.2 (b) (7) Use software programs

o        110.2,3,4 (b) (1) (A) Determine purpose for listening

o        110.2, 3,4 (b) (4) (A) Learn vocabulary such as numbers, shapes, colors, directions

o        110.2, 3,4 (b) (7) (A) Name and identify each letter of the alphabet

o        111.12,3,4 (a) (1) (3) Develop whole-number concepts and number sense

o        111.12,3,4 (a) (2) Develop measurement concepts

o        111.12,3,4 (a) (4) Problem solving skills

o        111.12 (b) (k.4) Model and create addition and subtraction problems with concrete objects.

o        111.12 (1.4, 5) Use patterns, relationship & algebraic thinking

o        111.12 (K.13)(D) Use tools to solve problems

o        111.2 Information and critical thinking used in making decisions


CSTA Level I Curriculum (Draft)

  1. Understands the concept of Input / Output including using I/O devices to operate a computer and related technologies.
  2. Understands that data is processed including the concept that digital information is represented using 0s and 1s.
  3. Communicates about technology using terminology to give feedback on knowledge related to K-2 Model Curriculum.
  4. Gathers and analyzes information to communicate/demonstrate solution to a problem.
  5. Arranges and sorts data into a useful order.
  6. Uses multimedia computing resources to enhance critical thinking, creativity and decision making.
  7. Uses teamwork and digital tools to develop a solution to a problem. 
  8. Creates computing products using guided and independent learning activities.
  9. Demonstrates ethics including responsible use of technology, use of Internet to enhance learning, individual work behavior, and social interaction.


NETS (National Technology Education Standards)

  1. Creativity & Innovation
  2. Communication & Collaboration
  3. Research & Information Fluency
  4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving & Decision Making
  5. Digital Citizenship
  6. Technology Operations and Concepts




1.      Compare and contrast Input / Output devices and CPU with the Bee-Bot robot.

2.      Understand the systems model used in manufacturing, which includes input-process-output and feedback.

3.      Compare and contract I/O and systems model with their own brain to correlate with using eyes and ears to learn.

4.      Sort boys and girls by gender and height to assign computers based on binary numbers.

5.      Survey popular careers and discuss how computer scientists are a part of the leading jobs.



1.      Simulate the Bee-Bot command by walking like a bee.

2.      Learn to use the Bee-Bot world programming environment.

3.      Master programming the forward command by playing the number line game.

4.      Correlate the number of students in the class with the distance the robot will move.

5.      Estimate the perimeter of a table or rectangle on the floor by counting the Bee-Bot steps.



1.      Learn the six commands by simulating the movement

2.      Master the right-turn and left-turn programming commands by using the race track game.

3.      Print source code and compare efficiency with other student’s command lists.

4.      Present plans to other students by programming the physical Bee-Bot and demonstrating their algorithm.

5.      Create activities or solve game problems using the programming environment or the physical objects.


Time Required

To get started, three 45 minute class periods are needed.  Programming can be used as a G/T activity for students who need fill time, or as a motivator throughout the school year. I would love to have an ancillary class for computer science separate from learning to use the computer. Teachers can use this as a center in their classroom to integrate the current academic curriculum with technology.


Materials Required

n        Bee-Bot World software from; there is a 2 week free trial period. Cost $199 for a school site license. 

n        One Bee-Bot, cost $69. Additional robots are nice, but not needed.  The mats that match the pictures of the activities in the software are useful, but can be simulated with masking tape or drawn on paper.

n        Computers labeled by number, letter and binary: 1 for "on" and 0 for "off".

n        Activity enhancements with photos of students available from on the ES link.

n        Computing Careers brochure, CSTA poster / information, and ISTE NECC SIGCT information,




1.      Create two lines sorting students boy/girl and by height. The amount of help the teacher gives in the sorting process depends on the age and ability of the students.

2.      Demonstrate the Bee-Bot “Go” and” Forward” commands between the 2 lines of students. As students watch the Bee-Bot move between the lines, questions can be answered.

3.      While students are still in their lines, review input/output devices and CPU.  Ask a student(s) to go to a computer and point to each part as you name them.

4.      Compare I/O and CPU to the Bee-Bot input commands, processing unit in the bee’s “brain” and the output of the movement.

5.      Acquire feedback on what they like about the Bee-Bot.  Discuss how the production of the Bee-Bot or other toys requires the same models model – I-P-O-F. 

6.      Discuss how real bees and human live in a system.  Ask what they use to live. Relate what senses are used to learn (eyes and ears). Ask if they use their output device (mouth) can they learn?

7.      Look at computer labels with numbers, letters and binary: 1 for "on" and 0 for "off". Explain that the CPU is the brain of computer and that number and letters (data) is represented with 0s & 1s.

8.      Move boys to a computer labeled with a “1” and girls “0” by placing students in line order (merge sort).  

9.      Ask what they would like to be.  Enhance their answers with being a Computer Scientist.  And, include that any job includes the need for information processing.

10.  Have them open the Bee-Bot Icon and play with the environment the rest of the period or research careers in computing online or look at the pictures in the brochure on computing.



1.      Students stand in front of their assigned computer from the last class, or sort students again using same method or have student create an algorithm for a seating arrangement.

2.      Simulate the Bee-Bot commands by walking forward and backward.

3.      Demonstrate the Bee-Bot World IDE and let students play in the environment

4.      Walk student through programming the first number 9 using the forward command.

5.      Have students continue the number line game until all students reach a score of 10. 

6.      When a student reaches 30, if not helping another have them try the race track or treasure game.  I find once the students learn how to use the forward command, they can apply this to using the other commands. 

7.      Physically have students walk the movement if they are having a problem. Or begin the group game so they can observe how other students solve the problem. 

8.      In the group game the students sit in a rectangle outside the tape. Each student inputs a forward command.  Ask how many commands, count number of students.  Estimate how far the Bee-Bot will go.

9.      Ask how many steps it would take to go around the whole square.  Measure other rectangular objects in BeeBot steps.  Correlate with Paint where attributes are measured in inches, centimeters and pixels. (Note – students have already done this before. I introduce programming in December or January.)

10.  Let student solve problems of their choice from measuring to other programming games.



1.      Simulate the six Bee-Bot commands.  Optional: Make up a dance with music using the six commands (See “Dancing with Bee” video).

2.      Let students think critically by experimenting with commands to program the Bee-Bot to finish the Race.  The frustration is good as anything new that is not mastered requires struggle.  Repeat physical movement if needed.

3.      Have students announce when they win and look at number of commands.  Explain the fewest number of commands is the most efficient and the winner.

4.      Print the command list and use this algorithm to program the real Bee-Bot. When successful have the student explain their thinking to another group of students.  This is helpful for struggling students to see how another student solves a problem. I find students do a great job teaching enhanced by explaining in Spanish for ESL students. Have the successful student watch the struggling student to see where their thinking needs to be debugged.

5.      Let student create their own activities or solve the other problems presented in the Bee-Bot World activities.



1.      How can computer science fit into your class/curriculum?

2.      Photos of students in action.

3.      Feedback cards to use for door prizes.



1.      Computer takes care of assessment; the bonus of programming is that evaluation is easy. 

2.      Young students will show you when they are successful, they thrive on individual attention; use their output to give individual feedback on their success.

3.      Print the command list and/or a print screen for a graphic story

4.      Optional: Record number line score and approximate time for success.

5.      Optional: Record the time it takes for them to win the Race.  Some students can do it on the first day, others take 4 days. 

6.      Give oral test on parts of computer as needed; use clickers if available. 

7.      Rubric – None


Extension Activities

Individual Games - THE SPELLING BEE

1.      This activity introduces a design chart so students learn to plan a solution instead of guessing and checking.  The design chart is a grid printed from Paint.  Students can also draw their objects and path, save and include in a digital bee story.

2.      Using 3 letter words, students write the word on the grid sheet to match the letters in the software.

3.      Set the home square at A.  The game begins when the student competes in a spelling bee and does not know the starting position of the bee.

4.      Once 3 letter words are mastered, have them spell their name.  

Who knows, this could turn into a programming competition added to the lower grades and not just in high school.



1.      Dancing with the Bees – create dance steps using the 6 commands and program the BeeBot to do the same thing.

2.      Where is the BeeBot going? – Read and post a short list of commands.  Have a student stand where they think the BeeBot will end up.

3.      Let students make decisions on what they want to do so they can be creative and inventive in solving problems they design.