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The Solutioneers Week 1: An Unexpected Variable

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How does this align with my curriculum?

This week's episodes and hands-on activity explore block programming.


On this episode of the Solutioneers, Riley, Ava and Gwen are testing block programming to make a model car drive forward and stop at the stop sign, then turn and drive down the next street. Riley has divided the roads up into a grid so that they can input the exact number of spaces the car needs to move before the stop sign.

In this episode of the Solutioneers, Riley, Ava and Gwen are testing block programming.

On Maker Space, David, Burva and Lilly play “Capture the Flag” robot style! The makers program their EZ-Robot to navigate an obstacle course and capture the flag (which in this case means “pop the balloon”) with step-by-step programming commands.

On Maker Space, David, Burva and Lilly play “Capture the Flag” robot style!

And on Future Minds, you meet Deven and Mikko, who have created an automated parking garage that directs cars to open spots based upon their order and proximity to the driver’s destination.

In this episode of Future Minds, meet Deven and Mikko who created an automated parking garage.

Now it's your turn!

Dotty Botty's Rodeo Rendezvous
Dotty Botty's Rodeo Rendezvous

Dotty the robot is going to the Robot Rodeo. Write your own code to get Dotty from her home to the Robot Rodeo in Brandenbot Gardens and make sure she gets all her errands done along the way.

Download the activity as a [PDF]


  • Grid map showing Dotty Botty’s home and community sites
  • Dotty Botty’s errand list
  • 1 small figurine or button or building block (use your imagination) to represent Dotty Botty as she moves through the community (on the grid map)
  • Paper or a notebook for writing
  • Pencil and eraser


  • Print off Dotty Botty’s Dotty’s TO-DO List and Rodeo Rendezvous Grid Map and Directional Command. Cut out the squares with the arrows.
  • Read Dotty’s TO-DO list and find each location on the map.
  • Think about how Dotty would move from square to square to reach each location.
  • Place the cut-out arrows on the map to show how Dotty would travel to each of the locations.
  • Turn the arrows into a set of instructions (for example: go right one square, go right one square, go right one square, stop).
  • Test your instructions on a friend or family member. Give them the map, the Dotty player piece and the instructions. Can they get Dotty to the rodeo using only your instructions? If they are not quite right, can you make them better?
Directional arrows
Directional arrows showing how to move left, right, up and down
Solutioneers episode 1example route
Example showing how to use three arrows to move from Dotty's home to the Botwash



Just like the Solutioneers and Maker Space crew you are writing a code! A code is a set of instructions to do specific actions. Computers use code to do many different things.

In the Solutioneers episode, Riley and her teammates play with a model car that uses block programing to drive through a city diorama. In the Maker Space video, the crew was making instructions for the robot to pick up flags along a racecourse. You have created instructions (or code) to get Dotty to the Robot Rodeo. 

An easy way to start learning to code is by using a block-based code. Have you tried Scratch™ or Blockly Games™ or Edu-blocks™ in school or at home?  


Check out these cool careers:

You can read books about coding, such as If: Ball, Then: Catch.


Dotty wants to get all these errands done on her way to the Robot Rodeo Rendezvous. Can you help her check things off her list? 

Download the activity as a [PDF]

  1. Get a WASH and polish at the Rustnot Botwash.

  2. Pick up a new bonnet at Bobbet’s bonnet repair.

  3. Stop in at Tops & Bottum’s PhotoShop for a picture to give to my new friend, Duncan! 

  4. Pick up two Super-size BotDogs at Vinny’s for Duncan and me.

  5. Meet Duncan by the Brandenbott Gates to the Fairgrounds.

  6. Stop for some botton candy at Flossy’s in the park.

  7. Arrive at the Robot Rodeo.

Rodeo Rendezvous Grid Map and Directional Command

Download the activity as a [PDF]

Rodeo Rendezvous Grid Map and Directional Command
Rodeo Rendezvous Grid Map and Directional Commands




Shaftesbury kids logo
Shaftesbury kids logo

With over 114 hours of award-winning kids & family programming, including Kids Emmy Award®-winning series Dark Oracle, and the long-running hit series Life with Derek - alongside family movies featuring some of Canada’s best and brightest stars including Tatiana Maslany, Ellen Page and Sandra Oh, Shaftesbury’s growing slate of kids and family co-viewing programming brings fresh content to a new generation of tween and young adult viewers across all platforms.