This application idea came from a conversation with George Kyriacos at the MAPE conference in Cheltenham. He wanted to use PIXIE with teddy bears. The idea was that the teddies have the wrong hats and PIXIE has to visit them to return the hats to their correct owners. We had a lot of discussion about how to avoid PIXIE moving the bears when it drove over them and other practical problems. Some weeks later we had time to work through it in detail and these notes are the result.
Each teddy wears a tie. The ties are coloured onto the teddy and cannot be moved. This is the colour of all the clothes that the teddy should be wearing. The hats are coloured to match the ties. We also made umbrellas, gloves and wellies in the matching colours in case we needed to make life more complicated.
The teddies started life as a book illustration. With a bit of photcopier magic they were adjusted to a suitable size. The hats were drawn by hand. The backing sheet is about 57centimetres square (it will just fit in a PIXIE playground). The central square is one PIXIE length (11cm) across. The lines are also one PIXIE length long. Our square and the lines are made from white adhesive-backed paper stuck onto the backing sheet but black lines drawn on a white background would be a little easier. The whole thing is covered in clear adhesive film. Laminating would be excellent if you have the technology.
To set it up you should put the hats so that no teddy has its own hat. I like to make it so that no pair of teddies have swapped hats so that it is obvious that PIXIE must visit all four teddies.
The children have to make PIXIE go forwards once to a teddy, wait for one or two seconds while the children take the hat from the teddy and put it onto PIXIE, then go backwards once, turn to face the teddy whose tie matches the hat, and then go forwards once to that teddy. Then, the next child can swap hats and program PIXIE to go back to the centre, turn to face the correct teddy, and go out to it.
The only problem we had was that the plastic film was a bit tacky and made PIXIE "bounce" a lot when it went backward. We solved this by spraying furniture polish on the surface and polishing it dry.
You could extend the idea by telling the children that PIXIE is "left-handed" or "right-handed" and can only turn one way. This is needed to make them use a turn of more than 2 steps.
The same basic idea can be used wherever you want the children to match pairs of things. I fancy using parents and children; e.g. a frog and tadpole, a chicken and egg, a person and baby and a tree and seed.
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Date Last Modified:24/6/01