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Balloon Pop

Years 3-4

During this lesson, students will be required to consider the functions of the Bee-Bot and how a user can interact with this device. Students are asked to design a course challenge for another user which will result in the Bee-Bot, with a pin attached, reversing into a balloon to pop it. Students will need to consider the algorithmic solution to this task in order to test whether their challenge is achievable by a user and to then debug as required.

This lesson idea was created by Lauren Stanhope.



  • Bee-Bots
  • You Tube video of lesson exemplar by Glenys Goffett
  • Craft supplies (eg cardboard, scissors, glue, sticky tape, paper, etc)
  • Balloons
  • Pins
  • Bee-Bot rulers (please check ruler size is 15cm when printed)

Prior Student Learning

Digital Technologies:

Students may have had previous experience using the Bee-Bots, however, this is not necessary.

Learning hook

Teacher to explain to students that they will be designing a challenge where another student will be required to try and solve. This will involve students designing and making a course for the Bee-Bot which will conclude with the popping of a balloon. A pin will be attached to the back of the Bee-Bot for the purpose of popping the balloon. Therefore, the challenge will need to end with the bee reversing into the balloon. The challenge will be to make this as challenging as possible, however, it still needs to be achievable. See this video for an example.

If students are not familiar with the Bee-Bot, it will be important to give a small demonstration and instructions on how to use these.

Learning map and outcomes

  • Students plan and construct in teams a challenge
  • Students identify and record an algorithmic solution
  • Students test and debug

Learning input

In the planning stage of this task, students will work in groups to design their course, considering things such as materials, Bee-Bot movement (eg. Length of each move), level of difficulty within the course, etc.

Students will also be asked to write the algorithm to a possible solution to their course. This will then need to be tested and debugged after the course has been created to ensure this is a working solution to the problem.

Open palm holding a manLimited abstract thinking skills icon

Additional scaffolding/Limited abstract thinking skills:

You may wish to simplify how students conceptualize this task by not focusing on the building of the course or what materials to use; instead have them think about simple maze puzzles. You may wish to show the students a simple maze pattern with a few steps (see figure below). Ask students to write out each turn the Bee-bot needs to take. You can include a visual on the board and a handout if you’d like. When students understand how to write out a set of directions from a maze pattern, then they can consider creatively building a larger maze for the Bee-bot. Note: this may not be feasible for students with limited or no vision.

Learning construction

Once students have completed the planning stage of this task, they will then begin constructing their course. This will require them to build, test and reassess throughout the process.

Learning demo

At the completion of construction stage, students will then ask other students to attempt their course and try and pop the balloon.

Open palm holding a manLimited abstract thinking skills icon

Additional scaffolding/Limited abstract thinking skills:

You may organise first to have students demonstrate their learning by having them pop their own balloons on their own course. They can describe the after algorithm for their course.

There is a possibility of using a buddy system in this stage, where younger students are invited to learn about the Bee-Bots and attempt the courses.

Encourage students to assess their solution algorithm and compare this to the attempts that are made. What new thinking has arisen?

Learning reflection

Students are given a chance to think about and describe what happened in their courses and to talk about what worked and what didn’t. What parts of the challenge were the hardest? Did the solution algorithm be achieved? Students discuss what happened in their algorithm and what they would do differently next time. How could you have made your course more challenging or extended the course?