Dash

My students absolutely love Dash!  From kindergarten to 5th grade, these little blue robots are always on the go.  Here are the apps I use, hints to keep in mind and a few getting started activities I have found.

Apps:

  • Path: introduces children to sequences, events, and sensors through its simple draw, drag, and drop interface. Plan, program, and execute an adventure for Dash while learning fundamental concepts of computational thinking.

path

  • Blockly: a drag-and-drop visual programming tool that introduces children as young as 6 to fundamental programming concepts.

blockly

  • Xylo: Conduct a musical performance for family and friends using Dash’s Xylophone! Remake your favorite tunes or channel your inner Beethoven to compose your own songs from scratch.  REQUIRES PURCHASE OF XYLO KIT.

xylo

  • Go and Wonder: I do not use these apps in my school as I felt they were more designed for one coder/one robot type challenges.  For these apps students work through challenges or missions to learn more about how Dash works.  My logic is that if a student gets to the Dash and it’s already on mission 5, they have missed the learning required in the previous 4 missions.  Blockly and Path allow for free exploration and discovery regardless of when the student starts.

Helpful Hints:

  1. You have to name each Dash in order for students to know which robot is which.  This is done easiest in the Go app.  After I named all my Dash, I deleted or hid this app in a folder students don’t access as it is not the app I wish students to use.
    • You can use painter’s tape to tape each Dash’s name to it.
    • Put the name on the box, too, and store the Dash’s in the box.  It keeps the robots neat, easy to find and safe.
  2. I take the time to show my kindergarten and 1st graders how to use the Path app and 2nd – 5th how to use Blockly.
  3. Provide instruction sheets for students and adults so they can help themselves.  I’ve provided some examples below that you can download and use.
  4. Keep in mind charging times.  Dash’s full charge takes 60 minutes and gives you 3 hours of play.
  5. WonderWorkshop has a great Teacher’s Reference Guide.  It contains tons of information about the different apps, getting started, what Dash can do and more.

Activities:

  1. Rolling for Code: I found this activity on a great website called The Digital Scoop.  It involves downloading and printing out die for Dash.  Each side of the die has a choice of a block of code that the student must choose to code in the Blockly app.  Students roll the die a set number of times (you can choose depending on time and ability) and then kids code Dash to follow those commands.
    • I really like using the die because it encourages guided play as opposed to just having the robots go in circles or having students be unsure as to what to do or how they did it.
    • This is an activity that can be done alone, pairs or groups.
    • In my MakerSpace, I simply have the die for students to use.  When I have a class or group where I am present and teaching a lesson I use the worksheet or task cards.
    • Resources:
  2. Make a Maze: You can create (or have students create) mazes using big blocks or painter’s tape that Dash has to move through.  This is best used on the Blockly app. Very easy and so much fun!
  3. Create a paper grid (or if you’re lucky purchase a grid carpet):  Place various pictures or cards on the grid depending on what students are studying.  For example, when first grade studies space, I place out cards with pictures of various space objects on the grid. Students pick or I tell them a vocabulary or hint card and then have to code Dash to go from the start square to the picture card that matches their vocabulary card.
  4. WonderWorkshop itself has some activities you can download.  Some are free and others are part of a paid subscription.
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