Coding and Sketching with Cue the Robot | Toronto Teacher Mom

Coding and Sketching with Cue the Robot

Monday, October 22, 2018

Cue Robot and Sketch Kit

Since I first started exploring the idea of using programmable robots in the classroom, I have come across quite a large variety of robots that each offer unique features. There are robots that you can program using a mobile app and there are those that have built-in controls and require no additional device. Some robots have fancy sensors and others flashy lights. There are those that can be used in water and others that can create sketches. For the most part, I have found that there are lot of robots geared towards younger children, as well as those designed with older children in mind. And then we have robots that are ideal for the in between stage, robots such as Cue.

Cue Robot

Cue the robot was created by Wonder Workshop, the makers of the ever popular and award-winning Dash and Dot robots. Designed with advanced robot technology, Cue robots give middle school and high school teachers the tools to introduce students to robots and practice coding concepts. While Dash and Dot is geared towards children age 6 and up, Cue is recommended for children age 11 and older, and brings with it a witty attitude full of interactive surprises. This clever robot features the following:
  • a new Emotive AI systems
  • improved sensors, including 3 proximity sensors for detecting left, right, and rear obstacles at multiple distances
  • upgraded processors and sensor fusion for precise mobility
  • a built-in speaker for custom sound playback
  • 3 microphones for directional sound triangulation
  • advanced Bluetooth capabilities that can connect to mobile or web apps
  • 6 ports for LEGO compatible Building Brick Connectors
  • 4 multicolour LEDs and more
When my son and I first started using Cue, we turned on our robot and followed instructions for the initial diagnostic setup, which is usually a monotonous task but, thanks to Cue's witty personality, this process was hilariously fun. We were then directed to download the Cue app onto our iPad. If you do not have an Apple device, you'll be happy to know that the app is available on Android, Kindle, Chromebook, and Windows 10 as well. Once you pair the device with your robot, you will meet four avatar hero personalities, each with hundreds of built-in phrases. You can select one and give it a name.

Using the app, learning to program Cue’s motors, sensors, sounds, buttons, and LEDs is super easy. You can write code with Block, JavaScript, or their unique Wonder programming experience by exploring coding and robotics with 30+ in-app challenges and examples. The iOS, Android and Kindle apps also offer a chat box where you can exchange messages with your avatar, who will respond with snappy answers, memes and jokes. You can also use your mobile device as a remote control, navigating your Cue around tight corners or obstacles. Cue retails for $199.99.

With th Sketch Kit drawing accessory, you can also access commands which will program Cue to draw. This kit allows kids to visualize the results from their code by attaching a caddy that holds a dry-erase marker and placing the robot on a dry-erase surface, taking Cue to a whole other level of STEAM. The kit includes six dry-erase markers in blue, red, green, orange, purple and black, as well as ten double-sided project starter cards with challenges of varying degrees of difficulty. This opens up endless possibilities for cross-curricular lessons in math, art, and more!  I played around with some code and figured out (by accident) how to code a 5-point star. I recorded a video and since Cue looked like he was dancing, I added a fun Latin beat:

Here is what the code looks like in blocks:

And by clicking on the text icon at the top, you can see the equivalent code in JavaScript:

Cue iOS app Java script code for 5-point star

The Sketch Kit is compatible with Dash, so it works with Wonder and Blockly mobile apps, in addition to Cue and Cue for Education apps. For teachers who would like to use Cue in the classroom with Chromebooks or Windows 10 laptops, you can create free accounts for teachers and students using Office 365 or Google SSO. This means you can automatically sync programs to the cloud and access them across multiple devices. Students can then try any tutorial, challenge, and example for each programming editor at any time.

This kit retails for $39.99. You can purchase a rollable whiteboard magnetic mat with 100cm x 200cm of canvas space that also includes a dry eraser. Another option would be to purchase the Sketch Kit and Whiteboard Mat bundle for $129.99, which would save you $10. However, you could find a more affordable solution by purchasing some vinyl or similar material at a fabric store. I purchased one metre of 12 gauge clear vinyl for about $11 and one metre of white patent vinyl for about $14 that could each be used as a dry-erase surface. I would even ask for a discarded empty roll so you can roll it up for storage. 

Don't forget to check out Wonder Workshop's handy educational resources. They recently released Learn to Code Curriculum for Grades K-5 that introduces students to sequencing, loops, events, conditionals, functions and variables, and Applied Robotics Curriculum for Grade 6-8, which delves even deeper. Each of these align with CSTA, ISTE, NGSS and Common Core standards. 

Disclosure: I received product to help facilitate this review. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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  1. My niece would be fascinated by this!

  2. This sounds like a lot of fun and also a great learning tool!

  3. Thanks for sharing. This would be great for a makerspace in a school library!

  4. Neat! Hadn't heard of Cue before.

  5. What a great way to have fun while learning to code.


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