When I was first asked by my friends at WeAreTeachers and Wonder Workshop to look at Dash and Dot, I never imagined that we would fall quite so hard for these two little, blue robots.
As tiny and unassuming as Dash and Dot are, I really thought that they’d be no big deal–just another beeping, flashing something that my kids would play with for a few days and then drop like an old Micky D’s Happy Meal toy.
Dash and Dot robots are seriously awesome.
These robots teach kids age six and up how to code, my friends. And along the way, these robots are igniting curiosity and confidence through play in children all over the world.
Whether they’re used at home or in the classroom, Dash and Dot are the perfect way to bring STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) into a new light for children. And thanks to Wonder Workshop, there are endless ways
Here’s the skinny. . .
Bring STEM to Life With Dash and Dot Robots from Wonder Workshop:
Let me first give you a little background.
What are Dash and Dot?
Dash and Dot are two little robots that teach kids how to code while they play. Really. Using these cool, free apps and a compatible tablet or smartphone, kids learn to code while they make Dash sing, dance, and move all around the house.
There are special sensors on both Dash and Dot which allow them to react to the environment around them–including the kids manning the controls.
Dash is the bigger of the two robots, and Dash can move. Dot is the smaller one, and though Dot may be small, it’s still super-fun.
It’s seriously out of the box coding.
These little guys work immediately–right when they’re powered on.
Kids can make mountains move with Dash and Dot (not really, but kind of), and they just think they’re playing.
Who should use Dash and Dot?
Anyone should use Dash and Dot!
Dash and Dot are ideal for the classroom. They can really bring STEAM to life and can be used to enhance learning in basically any subject area. Students can work together in small groups using Dash and Dot, and there are dozens of lesson plans online for teachers.
Dash and Dot are fantastic for the home. These guys are a perfect birthday gift for any child–girl or boy.
What age range is ideal for Dash and Dot?
Dash and Dot are designed for children ages six and up. But know that the learning opportunities extend so far beyond age six, thanks to the numerous free apps that open up so many more doors for learning and play.
How do you use Dash and Dot?
You use Dash and Dot in any way you want depending on the app you use!
Definitely check out the information on the apps on the Wonder Workshop site, but here’s a glance for you:
- Wonder: This was the first app we tried. Wonder codes the way we think. Combining unstructured play with hundreds of in-app challenges, Wonder makes robotics a delightful experience for every child.
- Go: It’s your mission to teach Dash & Dot how to play. Send Dash on missions to deliver messages, use Dot to act out storybook characters, and go out and explore the world together.
- Blockly: Take on coding challenges and make your own programs for Dash & Dot. Transform Dot into an alarm, play tag with Dash, or use Dot to control Dash. Programming lets you turn your silliest or most ambitious ideas into reality!
- Path: Program Dash to follow a path at the racetrack, on a farm, or in the big city! Unlock special abilities, sounds, and animations as you go forth and explore. When you finish the challenges, try creating your own stories and obstacle courses around your room!
- Xylo: Conduct a musical performance for family and friends using Dash’s Xylophone! Remake your favorite tunes or channel your inner Beethoven to compose your own songs from scratch.
Totally amazing, right? Can you just imagine the ways children can use these little robots for play and learn a ton along the way? I know. It’s nuts. And so exciting.
Here’s how Owen and his buddies used Dash and Dot:
Last week, during Owen’s Kendama Club meeting at our house, Dash and Dot caused quite a stir with Owen’s buddies. One guy caught sight of Dash on our counter, and he literally screamed.
OH MY GOSH OWEN! You have these robot things?! I saw these, and they’re awesome! Do you know how many cool things you can do with them?
He then proceeded to show the kids how you can move and control them using the panel on the Wonder app. I think these 5th graders could have quite a bit of fun with Dash and Dot given the time. . .
Later that weekend, Owen’s buddy was over again, and after a whole lot of free play with Dash and Dot, Owen said, Hey Mom, can we try the launcher thing?
I told them that they absolutely could but that they’d have to set it up themselves. I said, You go it. Give it a shot. Go for it.
They gave it a go, on their own, but the launcher wasn’t working properly.
Let me look at the FAQ–maybe this is a normal thing. I’ll just quickly print out the directions for you, I told them. And I did.
I found my directions under the FAQ section since the boys were having a slight problem getting the launcher to work properly, but you can find even easier step-by-step directions right on the home page!
If you want our step-by-step instructions on paper, grab them here: dash launcher how to.
But know that you can find them on the site very clearly illustrated: Launcher Set-up.
Sure, Owen and his buddy were reading the directions to make sure they had the launcher attached properly, but like I said, you can find the directions to the launcher set-up and all of the other accessories right on the site.
It’s funny to me how two boys started with a little robot and launcher and turned it into their very own game. Take a look:
The goal was to launch the balls into the air and get one in each bowl. Think they eventually did it, but only after quite a bit of adjusting on their part.
And then I jumped in, like the teacher-mom I am, and put a 10 pt, 15 pt, and 20 pt sign on each bowl.
Hey–if they were going to play, why not add a little math to the mix?
The boys played with Dash for hours.
They had a blast. And along the way, they were reading, thinking, planning, and using more super-important 20th century skills than they even realize. It was cool and so fun to watch.
How could you use Dash and Dot in the classroom?
The possibilities for curriculum-driven learning with Dash and Dot are endless.
Check out this quick video for the skinny.
Want to know what I’m thinking for the classroom?
- Use Dash and Dot as characters in a comic strip or short story. They could even use the freebie images and kick up their story a notch or ten!
- As a follow-up to the writing piece above, students can design a program for Dash and Dot to follow as the story is read. They can use whichever app makes most sense for the story.
- Get kids reading! Have students read the MakeWonder Magazine issues and give students the reigns for deciding where to take the robots.
- Focus on plot line and story elements. Read a text and then have students create a life-sized plot outline on a poster. Then have Dash be used as a “helper” to walk through elements of plot on as students explain and elaborate.
- Science center for the win. Dash and Dot as a constantly-evolving math or science center? You bet.
- Up the fun factor in any lesson. Dozens and dozens of free lesson ideas are in the Teacher’s Portal, and if you sign up for an account or upgrade to the premium account for even more Common Core and NGSS-aligned lessons.
- Start a club. Start a Wonder League Robotics Group or an after-school robotics club at your school. Really, every, single thing you need to start this is right on the site for you–all you need are students!
If you’re anything like me, after reading this, you’re thinking, How do I get these two little guys and all of their awesome into my children’s classrooms? Stat.
1.) First, check out the Wonder Workshop Teacher’s Portal, and you’ll find everything you need.
You’ll not only find rock-star fab Lesson Plans and a School Map to see where Dash and Dot are being used, but you’ll also find a boatload of Resources including info on Purchasing and Grants for schools.
2.) Next, share this post with your school principal and admin team.
Maybe the administration team will have an idea of how Dash and Dot can be used at your school.
Perhaps the team will know what the budget looks like as well and how this STEAM-focused robot team can support the existing curriculum.
3.) Talk to your PTA president and PTA board.
Share this post with them.
Get those eager and fab, vocal and fundraising-happy PTA folks to get behind Dash and Dot.
- Maybe there’s some extra money in the budget this year that can be used for funding?
- Maybe there’s a parent whose employer would like to fund this project or club?
- Maybe there’s a parent who would like to gift a set of Dash and Dot educational packs to the school?
- Maybe they know someone who could run the after school robotics club?
You never know until you ask!
So what do you think?
How will Dash and Dot fit into your family’s plans? Your school’s plans?
I’d love to know!
And stay tuned for how we will incorporate Dash and Dot into our summertime learning fun!
(Let’s hope that Owen and his buddies let Cora and Maddy get their hands on our two little robots. . .
fyi: This post was written as part of a sponsorship between teachmama.com and We Are Teachers and Wonder Workshop. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.