“MI-GO is an alien robot from a far away galaxy that crashed on earth and needs help returning home. There is only one problem… The only language he understands is Logic and Algorithms!”
MI-GO is a friendly robot that teaches programming to ALL children in a simple, intuitive and very fun way. Because it’s 100% tangible it’s an alternative to digital interfaces, fostering skills such as social interaction, logical thinking, creativity, teamwork, problem solving and communication. It enhances the learning experience of curriculum subjects through an innovative approach to STEAM teaching.
Tangible programming is a way to use physical objects to make programming an activity that is appealing and accessible to the hands and minds of young children by making it more direct and less abstract. In a way is like solving a puzzle, in the sense that the goal is to recognize patterns and breaking problems into smaller and simpler parts and organizing it in a logical and sequential way.
Training pattern recognition, abstraction and spatial orientation, where we must transpose an object reality to oneself (robots right or left might be different from ours) are important skills that can be used not only as introductory concepts to programming/coding, but also as a method of thinking and problem-solving to be applied in any subject at every level.
Due to the interactive and physical nature of tangible programming, where groups of children come together to solve problems, there is a great opportunity to shorten differences in terms of previous exposure and motivation between different backgrounds and groups of children. Teamwork and group discussions can take place and, differently from a classical computer interface, more than one student can be in control of the input which foster social negotiation and collaborative behaviours.
Mi-Go is a great tool to prepare our children for the future. And having the tool is important but to know what to do with it is key. MI-GO kit was designed, developed, and tested (have a look at tangin.eu) not only having children in mind but also teachers. We can only foster innovation and bring creativity to the classroom if the teachers are engaged and motivated. The solution is an easy to follow guide, lesson plans and more than 100 Activities, including games and puzzles for every age, level, and different curriculum subjects.
Use the function and number blocks to build the mathematical code of the triangle. Put a marker on MI-GO’s space ship and press GO on the MAIN block.
Keep in mind: functions (what) are grey and the main axis of the code; numbers (how many times) are colored and stay on the right. To connect the blocks just push them close together, they have magnetic female and male connectors that makes the code building not only easy but fun!
The robot will execute the block commands sequentially with the Main block as starting point. While MI-GO executes, the corresponding function block will simultaneously turn a green LED indicating what step is being executed (feedback feature to help debugging). Do not forget to build the code on MI-GO’s perspective not yours 😊
Use start loop and end loop blocks to repeat how many times you want what’s between them
An equilateral triangle has three equal sides so we have to tell MI-GO to go forward a certain distance and turn at a certain angle three times. Instead of repeating the same sequence of blocks three times we can use the Start Loop (green arrow) and End Loop (red arrow) to save blocks and build a simpler and cleaner code (as real programmers do!).
When we want to start a loop we always put the Start Loop block first and then a number block on its right to tell how many times we want to repeat it, in this case is three. After we put the sequence of blocks we want to repeat and close the loop with the End Loop block) and that’s it!
P.S. Loops after loops and loops inside loops are also possible, check our activities to explore the infinite possibilities of loops and creative games and puzzles (for all ages) we can make with it…
We can make the triangle (sides) the size we want!
By using the Forward block we are telling MI-GO to advance the number of steps we want. If there is no number coupled he will go forward one step, if there is a number it will do this many steps. In this case he’s going forward Two steps.
Every step is 10 cm, as big as the big squares in the Grid that comes with the Kit. It is also possible to advance 1 cm by using the Decimal block (check the Kit section) which allows you to make any geometry you want and not be limited to whole numbers.
Rotate (left of right) blocks rotate 90º by default, but by using the Angle block we can turn at any desired angle
An equilateral triangle has internal angles of 60º but in the perspective of MI-GO the actual turning is the external angle (180º-60º) and therefore 120º.
The Rotate blocks make MI-GO rotating 90º by default, left or right, on its axis (to actually turn you need to have a forward also). If you couple a Rotate with an Angle block then it will rotate the exact number of degrees as you couple in the right side of the Angle block.
One big challenge with blocks is they are not unlimited, which is a feature in itself instead of a problem. For example, if you run out of Rotate right you can easily couple a Number 3 to a Rotate left and magically it will make MI-GO facing he´s right side (90ºx3=180º rotation).
After pressing GO, MI-GO will show us if we got it right. Add a marker and we can make programming into an art!
With and without markers there are infinite possibilities to make Tangible Programming not only pedagogical but exciting and fun for everyone. Games are great and nothing better than a bit of competition to enhance our team-player and problem-solving skills. Using maps and cards, solve geometrical puzzles, recycling waste and drawing constellations? Looking for animals or cruising in our solar system? Imagination is the limit but in the Activities section you can have a good head start.
Lesson plans for several age groups with different levels of complexity.
Skills: spatial coordination, creativity, patience
Blocks: mainly directions and numbers, introduction of loops
Skills: geometry, abstraction,goal-driven teamwork
Blocks: mastering loops and simpler codes with less blocks; introduction of angles and decimal blocks
Skills: logic thinking and game strategy, complex problem and puzzle solving, attention to detail
Blocks: less blocks per problem. Fewer and out-of-the-box solutions like consecutive loops or loops inside loops.