The 21-Tech initiative has allowed me as a Discovery Guide to push myself further on how much information I can process and share with each visitor I encounter.- Odis Garrett, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a bridge between our museum guides and the visitors in that it creates connections between educational concepts and the real world.- Shawn Waxali, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech has helped Discovery Guides engage visitors by extending their experience through the apps and applying it to the exhibits.- Ian Tibby, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a way of ‘hiding the vegetables in the fruit’ where the kids do not realize they are learning, but instead having fun and being fed knowledge that intrigues their minds.- Lauren Bell, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech provides a new outlet for our Discovery Guides to interact with the visitors in a way that further enhances their experience and makes the visit overall extra enjoyable.- Sylvia Garcia, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide

What’s the Buzz About Bee-Bots?

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Meet my newest obsession- the tiny, yet powerful, Bee-Bot.

What is a Bee-Bot you might ask? It is an award-winning programmable floor robot, the perfect starting point for teaching control, directional language and programming to young children. There are so many cross-curricular resources available as well that could be incorporated in any learning experience. More information about Bee-Bots can be found here.

The Children’s Museum of Houston’s outreach program had the amazing opportunity to take Bee-Bots along with four iPads to one elementary and one intermediate school this month. As a part of a 30-minute lesson in an after-school setting, students were able to rotate in small groups between different Bee-Bot themed centers. One center had large pre-made mazes that the students navigated using the Bee-Bots from start to finish.  The second center had robots similar to Bee-Bots that looked like cars and had the option to add a marker and trace the path- in this center, the students were able to program their robot to create different shapes. In the third center, the iPads were available for students to explore the Bee-Bot app. This free app makes use of Bee-Bot’s keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns. Similar to many game apps, this app has 12 levels encouraging progression. Each level is timed and the faster it is completed the more stars you get.

The integration of iPads into this lesson was highly successful. It gave the students another opportunity to develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills while making meaningful connections to their exploration with the Bee-Bots and those careers available for skilled programmers. In my opinion, you know you have a winner when the students exclaim, “I can’t wait to go home and ask my Mom to put this on her iPhone/iPad!”

Whether you are interested in the curriculum of it or the app, I highly recommend you look into the buzz surrounding the award-winning Bee-Bot!

Museum RecommendingChildren’s Museum of Houston
Platform Used: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Cost: Free
Link: Bee-Bot


  1. August 10, 2014

    Karen North

    Love your buzz with the Bee-Bots. Are you still using them? I love them and have created a robotic spelling bee and line dances with them. Are you still using them at the Children’s Museum? If interested, see http://www.build-a-brain.com and search around for my lessons.

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Project Brief

21-Tech partners study and share the effective use of Personal Mobile Technologies (PMTs) by gallery facilitators in their work with visitors. The initial three years (2011-2013) of 21-Tech are funded in large part by a 21st Century Museum Professionals award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is led by the Children’s Museum of Houston in partnership with Lawrence Hall of Science, New York Hall of Science, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Sciencenter. For more information, please visit the About page.

Major funding provided by:

Additional support provided by: