Have you ever heard of the bee waggle dance? It’s a unique tool that honeybees use to communicate critical information with other members of their hive about the best flowers. It’s an amazing way to learn about animal survival and communication – and it’s so interesting to watch!
So… what does the bee waggle dance have to do with robotics? We’re so glad you asked!
BirdBrain Technologies tools the Hummingbird Robotics Kit and the Finch Robot are such versatile, flexible tools, users can create anything they can imagine – including biomimetic robots showcasing behaviors from many of our friends from the animal kingdom. The Bee Waggle has become one of our most popular activities for both the Finch Robot and the Hummingbird Robotics Kit, due to its strong connections to science curriculum, easy-to-follow steps, and engaging result. Students love programming their robots to move in their own unique communicative dance, and teachers love the combination of science, robotics, art, making, engineering, and creativity!
Today, we’re breaking down three different ways to bring the bee waggle dance into your classroom (plus a bonus option from our friends at TERC!). Each option is designed for different classrooms settings like available materials, student skill level, class time constraints, and more. Take a look and choose the bee waggle adventure that works best for your class!
1. First Hour of Robotics: Hummingbird Bee Waggle
New to robotics, or to working with the Hummingbird Robotics Kit? Bee Waggle is the perfect lesson to introduce your class to robotics for the first time! This First Hour of Robotics lesson plan is designed specifically for teachers looking to introduce their students to Hummingbird for the first time. It combines science content, computational thinking, a step-by-step process for introducing students to programming with the Hummingbird Kit, and more – all in one document ready for you to download right now. As with all of our materials, this First Hour of Robotics lesson plan is and always will be FREE – so follow the link below and check it out!
2. Hummingbird Simple Build: Bee Waggle
Already have some experience teaching with the Hummingbird Kit? You might enjoy challenging your students with the bee waggle simple build without the introductions and tutorials. In that case, this option is for you! This Simple Robot build guide provides clear, easy-to-follow video directions for building your own bee waggle robot with the Hummingbird Robotics Kit, without the constraints of a lesson plan. Perfect for teachers who are more advanced, looking to get creative, or short on time. Use it alone, add your own custom resources, use the tutorial to create some other kind of bug… it’s totally up to you! With the simple, stripped-down build steps, you can customize the bee waggle lesson however you’d like. No matter what draws you to this fun video tutorial, it’s sure to delight your classes! Follow the link below to watch.
3. Finch Robot Bee Waggle
Looking to bring bee waggle into your classroom, but with the Finch Robot? We’ve got you covered! This lesson is perfect for students not quite old enough to work with the Hummingbird Robotics Kit, or classrooms looking to learn about the bee waggle with a different set of materials. This activity, specially redesigned to work with the Finch Robot, provides guidance for both beginner level programmers, working with outputs only, and advanced students ready to incorporate variables into their code. Whatever level you choose, you’ll find sample code for Snap!, MakeCode, and BirdBlox ready to download to help you get started.
BONUS EXTENSION: Dive into Biomimetic Robots with our friends from TERC!
If you’re interested in bringing even more animal behaviors and robotics into your classroom, this brand-new, cutting-edge curriculum from the brilliant team at TERC has everything you need! The Biorobots curriculum was designed specifically for middle school students to explore biomimicry with the Hummingbird Kit. Designing Biomimetic Robotics can be used in the classroom in two different ways: as a standalone, one-hour activity, or as a full 15-hour curriculum. Follow the link below to explore the Biorobotics curriculum. (And while you’re at it, hear all about it from the amazing team of scientists behind the curriculum here!)