3.1. Combining RBI and inquiry-based science
Formerly limited to academia [SKL 03, PET 04, BAR 07, WIL 07, NUG 10], robotic-based instruction (RBI) today crosses the doorstep of kindergarten [TAN 05, TEJ 06, SUL 15], primary school [BER 02, KAN 03, MIT 08, RIB 08, CHA 10, MCD 12, KIM 14] and secondary school [ROB 05, HUS 06, LIN 07, WHI 07, BAR 09, CHO 15].
The reasons of such a pervasive diffusion of RBI in educational contexts, under the form of modular activities, short-term and long-term projects based on constructible and programmable robotic kits (Lego Mindstorms®, Lego WeDo®, etc.), can be found in the educators expectations toward a technology that has been defined, from its birth, as an object to think with [RES 96] or a mindtool [MIK 06] as well as a chameleonic tool, which can adapt to different pedagogical objectives [STR 92]. In this sense, the attractiveness of robotic kits resides in their “low floor”, i.e. robotic kits offer a facilitated approach to robotics, “high ceiling”, i.e. they allow a diversity of projects, and “wide walls”, i.e. they encourages different learning styles [PAP 81].
Robotic kits are normally composed of mechanic and electronic elements that are controlled by dedicated interfaces where students program robots’ behavior through high-level language (i.e. a programming language that is closer to the human natural language than to machine language), that can be verbal (Logo ...