August Educators of the Month: How to Get a Clue About Coding with Board Games

We love that our little Ozobots Evo and Bit don’t just teach coding – they inspire creativity too! One way we’ve seen kids use them is as smart board game pieces. An activity providing fun for the whole family, board games bring all ages together and actually do their own great job of combining creativity and coding concepts. With the math of scoring, problem-solving of deducing the best strategy, and logic needed to figure out the culprit, Clue is a perfect example of learning through fun.

In the board gaming community, game pieces that designate your character are called “Meeples” (for “my people”), and we think Bit makes a mighty fine Meeple in our August Creators of the Month’s rendition of OzoClue! Help us in congratulating Deb Crowe and Max Santangelo, and read on for more about Bit’s adventures below.

Ozobot Bit makes a mighty fine Meeple

Tell us about yourselves! What are your jobs and what inspired you to get into the careers you have?

Deb and Max: We both work in the programs department at The Franklin Institute [Science Museum]. Deb grew up around the museum and has been working here since she was in high school (over 15 years ago), she loves making mischief to explore different science ideas with campers and other visitors to the museum. Max oversees the 3D fabrication lab and develops activities and workshops on 3D printing. He finds 3D modeling and 3D printing fascinating and is happy to be in an institution that strives to educate people on those topics. He loves educating people on topics that he is passionate about.

How did you think of creating the OzoClue project?

Deb and Max: We run lots of events with all different themes throughout the year. Dressing up the Ozobots to match the theme helps shake up the look of the activity and lets us giggle about silly Ozobot disguises.

3D Printing Meets Ozobot Bit

What was the most challenging part about making it, and how did you overcome the obstacle?

Max: The most challenging part about designing the costumes was getting the measurements right for the basic version that I developed for our OzoPacman project. I went through 15 different versions of the basic Ozobot costume design before it was able to fit over the Bit and allow the robot to run smoothly. We overcame it through trial and error, and a lot of persistence!

Can you share an example of how your project combined creativity and coding?

Deb and Max: During the event where we used OzoClue, visitors to the museum placed Color Code stickers in various locations on a Clue game board to make the bots visit different rooms. Visitors had to find creative ways to place the code to navigate through the board and reach their destination rooms. Some robots danced in the ballroom, others went to the library, and Colonel Mustard took a liking to the conservatory!

OzoClue with Color Codes and Ozobot Bit

How else do you use STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) in everyday life?

Deb and Max: Working at a science museum, our goal every day is to inspire all of our visitors with a passion for exploring the world around them through science and technology. We love using engineering challenges to introduce ideas that help us achieve that goal. Occasionally we add twists like the costumes for the Ozobots to spark the interest of a visitor who might otherwise think that science isn’t for them. Soon, they find they’re down the rabbit-hole.

What is your favorite Color Code?

Deb: I favor any form of controlled chaos, so I like putting the Color Code for tornado down.

Max: My favorite color code is for Turbo speed. I think it’s so fun watching the bots read it and then go zooming off to their next destination.

Mrs. Peacock Bit

In addition to having a blast with Ozobots, what do you want kids who make and play OzoClue to take away from it?

Deb and Max: We use Ozobots as a way of introducing coding to both kids and adults. They are straightforward, easy to use, and a lot of fun, so it’s a great way to demonstrate to guests of all ages that anyone can learn to code.

How did you first start learning to code?

Deb: I was introduced to Ozobot when the classroom sets of Bits were brought in to use with school workshops. I leaned towards the Evos when I chose to get some Ozobots for myself though. I like making them chatter or sing at my desk when I need a distraction from the real work. I didn’t really start exploring OzoBlockly until I was already acquainted with block coding for [other similar] robots that I’m also attached to.

Max: Deb got me into all things robots! Every so often I saw her playing with different robots–either for fun or with kids–and I wandered over to watch. Deb took notice of my interest in the robots and started inviting me to try them out.

Besides creating with code, what is your favorite hobby or interest to geek out about in your free time?

Deb: When I’m not working (okay, playing) with my robots, I’m usually taking pictures, hanging out with my dog, or building with Legos. Honestly, I just refuse to grow up.

Max: My greatest passion lies in art history, so I spend a lot of time researching and writing about various works from different periods of art. When I’m not reading up on my current favorite topic, you can find me playing video games or creating art of my own.

Mr. Green Bit

Have you named your Ozobots? Do you use Evo or Bit?

Deb and Max: Our department has 2 classroom sets of Bits and they are all numbered to distinguish them, but only one has a name. At some point we had to replace a lost Bit and the replacement was one of the black Bits, now named Maximus.

Deb: I have two Evos, I named them Ralph and Bento.

Max: I don’t have any of my own Ozobots yet, but I’ve been pining for an Evo since I first laid eyes on Ralph and Bento. I can’t wait to have a little robot friend of my own!

Have you created any other projects with your bots?

Our first Ozobot costume project was OzoPacman. That was what Max first designed the Ozobot costumes for. We created a mock Pacman maze with lines for the Ozobots to follow and places to add color codes. The Pacman ghost costumes and OzoClue costumes were modifications from the same basic design, but for OzoPacman Max created a special costume for Pacman himself.  

Ozobot Bit Meets Pac Man

Thank you to Deb and Max, for showcasing how board gaming combines creativity & coding! Follow Max and Deb on Twitter to see more of their Ozobot creations. And don’t forget…

Coding is Creative!

Tech skills alone don’t spur big ideas—creative visions do. That’s why education at home and in the classroom should span science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (think STEAM, not STEM). Whether you see yourself as a future artist, astronaut, or entrepreneur, our goal at Ozobot is to kick start your creativity and coding skills with playtime that strengthens your whole mind.

To learn more, explore Ozobot’s two ways to code:

OzoBlockly >

Color Codes >

For Educators and Students:

OzoBlockly Basic Training >

Color Codes Basic Training >

100+ STEAM Lessons >

Creator of the Month – Official Rules

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