ITEEA The Elementary STEM Journal, Vol. 25, Issue 1
PublisherInternational Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Reston, VA
ReleasedSeptember 1, 2020
Copyright@ 2020
The Elementary STEM Journal, Volume 25, Issue 1 - September, 2020

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Table of Contents

Books to Briefs: Honey Hunt: Guiding People to Honey Using Technology

ESJSept20HH1Book used:
Therein, T. (2007).
Where’s the Honey, Honey?
McLean, VA: Cricket Media.
[8 pages; ISBN: 978-1-64262-039-9]
Book image courtesy of Google Books.

Grade Level: The activity is intended for second grade students with some background knowledge of block coding.


Book Synopsis

This informational text is about the Boran, a group of people in Eastern Africa who follow honeyguides, a type of bird, to find elusive beehives. Both the humans and the honeyguides need each other to efficiently retrieve honey. The Boran save hours by following the honeyguides, and the honeyguides are more successful at getting honey because of the smoke and tools that the Boran use. 


Lesson Synopsis

In the story, the honeyguides helped the Boran people find honey faster. Without a honeyguide, it could take nearly nine hours for the Boran people to find a beehive. With a honeyguide, it takes only about three hours. The goal of this lesson is to design a path for a robot to efficiently find honey. The robot will act as a honeyguide bird and guide people to the honey in the room. For this lesson, you can utilize any robot that uses block coding such as Dash, Dot, Ozobot, Sphero, or LegoWeDo. If your school doesn’t have access to robotics, the children can create a program for a person to act as the robot instead. The purpose of the lesson is to build a foundation of writing clear algorithms, so it is not important what tool is used, just that the children are getting the concept of writing clear, efficient directions.


Student Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

•      Recount a story and identify relevant facts.

•      Collaborate in the engineering design process with a team of 3-4 people,

•      Sketch, answer, and reflect in a design log.

•      Use an appropriate tool to measure a path.

•      Plan and program a robot using block coding.

•      Present their design process and product to the class.

•      Recognize that anyone can improve or invent a design to make life easier.


Standards Addressed:

Common Core Standards (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2020)

•      CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.1: Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.

•      CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4: Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013)

•      NGSS K-2-ETS1-1: Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

•      NGSS K-2-ETS1-2: Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

•      NGSS K-2-ETS1-3: Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy (ITEEA, 2020)

•      STEL-1C (PreK-2): Recognize that creating can be done by anyone (p. 23).

•      STEL-2D (PreK-2): Develop a plan in order to complete a task (p. 30).

•      STEL-2E (PreK-2): Collaborate effectively as a member of a team (p. 30).


ESJSept20HH2Student Introduction

In “Where’s the Honey, Honey?” honeyguides led the Boran people to beehives in about three hours when it normally took people over nine hours if they even found one at all. Using noises and pausing at trees helped the honeyguide lead the Boran people to the honey. 



Today you are going to use your background knowledge of measurement and block coding to lead people to honey using a robot. 


Criteria and Constraints

Your solution must:

•      Create a plan for your robot on paper using block codes and measuring tools to get checked by the teacher before using a robot and computer tablet.

•      Program the robot to make at least two different sounds for people to follow.

•      Use at least one loop in your program.

•      Have the robot face your group to represent communicating between you and the robot.


Extension: Include obstacles created out of recycled materials for the robot to go around.



•      Design log

•      Robot that uses block coding (one for every 4-5 children)

•      Computer tablet (one for every robot, if needed)

•      Raw honey (or a picture)

•      Recycled materials to create obstacles—paper towel holders, bottles, straws, bottle/marker caps, etc.



1.     Read Where’s the Honey, Honey? Briefly discuss the book and check for students’ understanding of relevant facts. 

2.     Build background knowledge about how to use block coding efficiently with your robot. Explore the features available on your robot such as adjusting the distance that the robot travels with a forward block, using loops, incorporating sound, and having the robot look towards its programmer. The Block Coding Handout is available at

3.     Watch the real-life relationship of people and honeyguides:

4.     Divide students in groups of 3-4.

5.     Distribute the design log to the groups to have all members of the group write in their own log. The Design Log is available at

6.     Read the design challenge, explain the constraints, and show the materials available. The Design Brief is available at

7.     In teams, discuss how anyone, even children, can create and improve designs to make our lives better.

8.     Allow the children to work on their plans, obstacles, and computer programs for about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes into the activity, encourage students to finish their brainstorming plans and move on to the robots (and computer tablets, if needed). 

9.     After 45 minutes, have groups plan what to say about the process and product for about 10 minutes. 

10.   Finally, have all of the groups share the process and product (computer program) while highlighting the mistakes made, perseverance, collaboration, and problem solving. 



Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2020) Common core state standards initiative. Retrieved from

International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). (2020). Standards for technological and engineering literacy: The role of technology and engineering in STEM education. Reston, VA: Author. Retrieved from

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Retrieved from

Therein, T. (2007). Where’s the honey, honey? McLean, VA: Cricket Media.



Julia Cin has taught second grade at Hershey Elementary School for the last eight years. She is interested in integrating STEAM into the general education classroom. She graduated in May 2020 with a Masters of Science in Technology and Innovation with a STEM endorsement from Millersville University. She can be contacted at or