Tried and Tested: Botley™ The Coding Robot Activity Set

Product: Botley™ The Coding Robot Activity Set

About Botley: Botley is a fun, friendly robot that teaches critical coding skills to children as young as five through play.  Botley is entirely screen-free.

Price: £79

Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set
Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set

Jo Moore, a reception and year 1 teacher at Snettisham Primary School in Norfolk, was asked to test Botley™ the Coding Robot Activity Set.

Botley the robot is a fun, friendly way to teach critical coding skills to children as young as five and is entirely screen-free.

After taking Botley into her school and allowing her children to play and explore the new robot by Learning Resources®, Jo Moore gives us her feedback…

How was this product used within the classroom?

I introduced ‘Botley’ to the children as a whole class carpet session. We discussed what ‘coding’ meant…’making a sequence to make something do something’ and we looked at his basic functions. We set up a little course and I gave the children the challenge to get the ball to the goal. We started off just programming in one-step instructions. Then after this we tried programming a sequence.

Botley in the classroom

After a short whole class session, I left Botley out during our coding session on the computers and children freely chose to come and play. They set up their own mazes and challenged each other to code Botley.

How did Botley support learning in the classroom?

Botley is a perfect way to introduce and develop coding with this age group (4 – 6). They absolutely loved how Botley looked and were so engaged in the activity. Everyone wanted a turn and were sad when we had to put it away for lunch! ‘Coding’ can be a tricky concept to explain to young children but is a requirement of the National Curriculum and essential for our modern technology, so Botley helps children to learn in a simple effective way.

Do you believe Botley is innovative?

Yes, I haven’t seen any other products like this that offer so many features. You can begin to teach coding with Botley but because of the range of features he offers it enables you to build on the learning and introduce more complex features and coding such as the object detection. Also, the hand held remote is a great addition as it really helped my younger children to look at the directions and position. One of them worked out they could turn the remote to match the way Botley was facing and this helped them to understand the way that he needed to go or turn.

Botley in the classroom

Do you feel Botley has a positive impact?

 I have a child in my class who does not have any speech. For her, this made the activity fully inclusive as it was so-hands on and active. She could show everyone which way she thought ‘Botley’ needed to go by showing the cards or the arrows on the remote.

Do you feel Botley supports your role as a teacher?  

Yes, it’s a fantastic resource to introduce coding to the children. They can be very hands-on and active, learning the ideas of ‘coding’ before they try more complex coding programmes on the computer or ipad. Everything comes in the box that you need so it doesn’t take any time at all to plan and set up.

What would you say are the greatest benefits of Botley, both to you as the teacher and to your students?

  • Hands-on, active
  • Easy/simple to use
  • Bright, colourful – the children loved the robot!
  • Sturdy so will not break easily using with young children
  • Covers many areas of learning from computing to maths
  • Encourages collaboration and group working

Do you feel Botley will meet your requirements to teach the National Curriculum/Early Years Foundation Stage Framework?

Yes, for the EYFS children it covers the ‘Technology’ area of ‘Understanding the World’ plus also enables them to begin to explore position and direction which features in the ‘Mathematics.’

For the National Curriculum it is perfect for the ‘Computing’ curriculum and has massive scope for how you can incorporate computing into mathematics to look at position and direction which features in ‘Geometry’.

Alongside these main strands of the EYFS and National Curriculum I also feel it helps to develop many group working skills and interacting with each other.

Botley the Coding Robot

Does Botley offer any support for SEND pupils? If yes, please explain why. 

Yes, as explained above for the little girl that I have in my class, but also because the product is so engaging and hands-on it would be perfect for many children with SEND. It is very simple to use and all the children quickly picked up on how to use it.

How would you rate the long-term appeal of Botley, both to you as the teacher, and to your students?

Very good. I would definitely purchase some of these for the school. As computing subject lead and teaching the younger children, this product is what I had been looking for.

Do you feel Botley is unique or different from other resources in the subject area? Please provide details.

Yes, I feel it is unique with the range of features offered such as the object identification and also the hand held remote. The hand held remote made it much easier to use with a whole class as it could be passed around rather than the children having to follow the robot around to be able to programme it.

How cost effective is Botley is in terms of the educational aims it achieves?

Very cost effective.  Everything comes in one box and it seems like the product would last a long time.

 These are the children’s comments:

“A very good robot.”

“Helps us learn about coding.”

“A very good friend because he helps us learn about robots and controlling.”

“‘We can control Botley with a remote which makes it easier.”

“Botley is cute. The eyes are cute and I like the colours.”

“Botley is amazing because I can make it put the ball in the goal!”

“Botley helps us to learn to share because we took it in turns.” 

The final Score

Fun factor – 5

Educational benefits – 4

Ease of use – 5