Roaming robot helps kids appreciate the great outdoors

OUR TEACHER IS A ROBOT! -- children of Mapplewells School with the Blue-Bot, a programmable robot that helped with their outdoor learning.
OUR TEACHER IS A ROBOT! -- children of Mapplewells School with the Blue-Bot, a programmable robot that helped with their outdoor learning.

It’s often said that children of today spend too much time indoors, playing computer games, watching TV or texting on their mobile phones.

But that’s not the case at Mapplewells Primary amd Nursery School in Sutton, where outdoor learning is positively encouraged -- even with the help of a roaming robot!

Mapplewells youngsters relish sessions of Forest School, in which they build dens, play in ‘mud kitchens’, collect stones and rummage for bugs in woodland.

And for the latest session, they teamed up with Blue-Bot, a programmable robot provided by the TTS Group, one of Europe’s leading education resource suppliers.

The children set off on an adventure with Blue-Bot in which they collected sticks and created a path for the robot to navigate before building a den for him to live in. They also tried out different commands to move Blue-Bot along the path, logically sequencing him forwards, backwards, left and right.

It was all about encouraging the youngsters to work together to create and learn basic programming skills in a natural environment, and building their confidence and self-esteem.

Mapplewells teacher Shelley Christie brands Forest School, which has the children outside in all weathers, as “our classroom without a roof”.

And she described the sessions with the robot as “a great and exciting experience to promote skills and team-building”. “The children loved it,” she said. “We are looking forward to carrying out further activities with Blue-Bot at future Forest School sessions.”

Enthusiastic mum and TTS employee Charlotte Parry said the firm, which has 30 years’ experience of working in schools, “had a lovely afternoon with the Mapplewells children”.