Education Robotics
Teaching kids to program with wooden blocks

BannerThis post is coming to you live from the Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire being held today at the London College of Communication.

The Primo robot (back) and instruction board (front).
The Primo robot (back) and instruction board (front) with commands in place (coloured tiles).

How do you teach programming to children with no prior programming experience? How do you teach programming to children that can yet read or write?

What is Primo about?

Primo kickstarted at the tail end of last year with the goal of building a robot that was programmable using a tactile interface. Children place coloured tiles representing simple directional commands (forward, back, left, right) as well as a function command—which calls the last line of commands in the board every time it is encountered.

Not only does this teach children programming, it changes their perspective on problem solving and logic in general.

I talked to Valeria Leonardi from Primo about the robot, and why they brought it here to Maker Faire.

Talking to Valeria

The Primo is available for pre-order and should be shipping in April next year, but if you can’t wait that long all the instructions, source files and other things you need to make your own are available online.

The Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire is being held at the London College of Communication from 10am till 6pm. Entry is free to children (under 16) and students, tickets are £5 otherwise and available on the door.

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Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker and tinkerer, who is spending a lot of his time thinking about the Internet of Things. In the past he has mesh networked the Moscone Center, caused a U.S. Senate hearing, and contributed to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered.

View more articles by Alasdair Allan