We have previously used the Microbit to introduce coding and Robotics to our senior classes. However, this year we decided to try something similar but different and this is how I stumbled upon the Crumblebot.
The CrumbleBot is an enjoyable and effective way to introduce coding and robotics to children of all ages, and especially primary school children. It provides a ready-built platform to experiment safely and easily with analog and digital, inputs and outputs. Once coded It moves in all directions, flashes LED’s on and off and uses sensors to perform a variety of tasks
Programming the CrumbleBot is very easy and uses free software very similar to Scratch where you drag, drop and click the various programming blocks to accomplish hundreds of simple and slightly more complex tasks.
The kit includes
- 8 Super-bright RGB LEDs – ‘Sparkles’
- 2 push-button switches
- An Easy to use Buzzer
- An Integrated pen holder
- Connections for front sensors
- Simple jumper connection system which removes the need for croc clips
- “Wire-free”, low-profile battery holder so there is no USB connectors required apart from the usb connector to send the program instructions to the Bot
With this robot kit you can programme it for
- Basic movements (forward, reverse, left spin, right spin)
- More complex turns (by moving one motor slower than the other)
- Line following using the built-in line sensors with indicators
- Light seeking or light avoiding using the built-in light sensors
- Using the built-in Sparkles/flashing LED’s to give indications of what is happening
- Use the built-in push-button switches to start/stop the program, change mode or anything else you want
- Draw shapes such as squares, triangles and circles by moving the correct distances and directions. Simply insert a pen in the pen holder and then programme the Bot to draw the required shape.
The software is extremely easy to use. Simply drag the elements you want onto the stage, click on the selections (eg On and Off, Motor1 or Motor2) and press Run. The program is sent directly via USB lead to the Crumble. You then detach the lead and just press the black switch on the CrumbleBot to the ‘on’ position, to execute your commands. The Crumble never forgets its program, so you can power it back up next day or even next year and it will start running the last program downloaded to it.
The hardware is designed very cleverly. We have used them during coding week and the children have really enjoyed interacting with them. The kit is robust and cheap and is an excellent alternative or addition to the MicroBit in your school.