I'm Bon Crowder and the photos above are both of me - in 1989 and today. I'm a Generation X mom of Generation Z kids.

I began peer tutoring in high school in 1984. MathFour.com is the 2015 version of me helping peers be comfortable in math.

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Category Archives: Logic

Bee-Bot Floor Robot – Teaching Basic Programming

The bee-bot programmable robot teaches logic, the basics of programming and how a computer "thinks."A friend gave me a Bee-Bot floor robot on “permanent loan.” She wanted me to figure out some good ways to teach the basics of programming as well as some algebra.

I was happy to take on the challenge.

What is the bee-bot?

I handed the bee-bot to the kids with the prompt, “What do you think?”

When they asked about it, I answered: “Figure it out.”

They mashed some buttons. Some students figured it out. But some needed my prompts:

  1. Press clear.
  2. Now press two arrow buttons.
  3. Put it down and press “Go.”

With this they got enough of what it is, a programmable robot with five operations:

  • Forward
  • Reverse
  • Rotate right
  • BeeBotCommandsRotate left
  • Pause

The “Go” button launches the programmed sequence of operations and the “Clear” button clears the programming.

Learning Programming

I made a 4 x 4 grid for the bee-bot to drive on. This allowed us to designate start and end positions and do some programming.

Students would draw paths and challenge others to program the bee-bot to drive around it. We even placed our own “houses” on the grid and asked things like:

Can you program the bee-bot to start at “Start,” drive around Ms. Bon’s house and end up at Edward’s house? 

We used post-it notes to record the programming steps.

To program and debug our bee-bot, we used post-it note commands.


Sometimes the bee-bot didn’t do what they wanted it to do. So we had to debug the program.

They watched the bee-bot and said out loud each step as I pointed to the arrow (the command) it was doing. When it would go off the intended track, I marked it in our post-it note program. Then they could figure out what the command should have been to make it work.

Programming on Paper

After a while they had a pretty good handle on programming in “real-time.” They could look at the grid and program the bee-bot as they physically moved him.

Now it was time to move to programming without the bee-bot in hand.

I gave them mini-grids along with LEGO men and had them do one step at a time.

Turning presented the biggest challenge. They had to figure out that “turn right” means literally rotate right – no forward or side movement at all.

Different students were successful at different levels. But overall they got a good feeling of logic, programming and what it’s like to think like a computer.

We didn’t get to any algebra work as my friend requested, but the year’s not over!

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5 Responses to Logic Skills – Ornery Kids Develop them Naturally!

  1. Just a point of pedantry: it’s only formal logic when you’re actually working with formulas directly. In this case, it’s just “logic”. But it is, in fact, logic, so the point of the whole article comes across just fine. :)

    On the subject of logic in everyday life, Greg Restall has a great article here

  2. How about doing a PTA bath?

    However, with a three-year-old it would be,”Let’s put your hair up so it won’t get wet[choose a pretty shower cap] then jump into the shower so we won’t get TOO TOO wet, but just take the germs off our hands. Let’s don’t even use soap today. Today let’s do a PTA bath.

    Oh, you’ve never done a PTA bath??? Very simple, just soap the hands and get a little bit on our PRETTY (she pats her face) and a smidge on our TINKLE( quick clean on front parts) AND a bit on our booty! (slap hiney with attitude and giggle with her!!!) Pretty soon she will be wet all over, sufficiently washed for the day, and all are happy with the game. Quickly get her out of the shower and give a turkish rub so the water doesn’t stay on her too too long all the time saying “lets get you dry before the water sticks to you too much!”
    A quick alternative to a long drawn out bath. Now you have another choice at bathtime, a bath with mommy, by yourself or a PTA bath!

    • Thanks for the comment, marymoses!

      The problem is that our definition of “bath” is that you wash your private parts and your hair. So putting the hair up and washing the PTA doesn’t qualify.

      But it’s a nice thought. :)

  3. My son talks about making good choices and how making negative good choices really mean making bad choices. He does the same with making negative good choices. Pretty ingenious huh!

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3 Responses to Some Fun Ways to Teach Counterexamples

    • Thanks, Dan!

      I enjoyed creating them, too.

      Really – I remember my Ma doing stuff like this with me when I was little. Creates so much giggling! I had totally forgotten about that, thanks!

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