Sphero’s in the Classroom

 

Article written for Education Today Term 3 2016 Vol 16 (3)

As teachers we need to provide our students with opportunities to learn how to learn, supporting them to find and solve problems. Our role involves developing learners for many jobs that are yet to exist. The critical question we must ask as educators is; How might we best prepare our students for their future?

There are many tools, resources, and applications that can be used to enhance student learning and develop their lifelong learning skills. The Sphero is one of these tools. It is amazingly versatile and will engage and empower your students. A tennis ball sized robot connected via bluetooth to a mobile device, the Sphero can be used to transform teaching and learning across various curriculum areas.

The Sphero can roll at a speed of up to 7km/h in any direction, spin, flip, and change colour. Using a range of Apps students can accurately direct the movement of the Sphero using code.

Creatively designed lessons incorporating Sphero’s can develop many of the attributes we want for our learners. Students will be designing and creating code to direct the Sphero while connecting, communicating, collaborating, problem solving, testing, failing, and iterating, all key characteristics of 21st century learners.

Here are some of my favourite lessons using Spheros;

Mathematics – Shape & Angle investigation.

  • Tickle App
  • On paper students create and sketch a 2D shape showing their knowledge of angles
  • Using masking tape, rulers, and protractors, students recreate their shape on the floor
  • Students connect the Sphero to the iPad app Tickle, and use code to direct the sphero to follow the masking tape shape

Skills students develop:

  • Coding using block code
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 12.47.50 pm

Mathematics – Data, Measurement, Mean, Median & Mode.

  • Tickle App
  • The Sphero can be used as a variable to collect data, recording the time it takes to complete a task.
  • Using masking tape or cones, students can record the time it takes the Sphero to follow a course.
  • Using different speeds, students can measure the distance the Sphero travels in a set time.
  • The Sphero is waterproof, so students can record the time it takes to travel through water. Rubber bands can be added to increase friction and alter results.

Skills students develop:

  • Coding using block code.
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed
  • Data, Analysing data, Mean, Median & Mode

Angles – Mini Golf

  • Tickle App
  • Students design a mini golf course
  • Using the Tickle app, students direct the Sphero to each hole in as little code directions as possible.
  • Students can analyse the data from the game and calculate the Mean, Median and Mode for each hole of the course.

Skills students develop:

  • Coding using block code.
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed
  • Data, Analysing data, Mean, Median & Mode

Language

  • Tickle App
  • Students can design and create a plastic cup character that can be placed over the Sphero
  • Students create a story line and move their cup character covering their Sphero to retell the story

Skills students develop:

  • Art, Design
  • Storytelling, retell skills descriptive language, character development
  • Plot, storyline

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 12.47.58 pm

Sphero Art

  • Tickle App, Draw & Drive App
  • Students dip the Sphero into paint, and then place it onto a large blank canvas (wipe the Sphero clean after each use using baby wipes)
  • Draw & Drive App – Students can draw an image on the iPad screen which the Sphero will follow
  • Tickle App – Students can code shapes and images

Skills students develop:

  • Art, Design
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed

If you are participating in Sphero Art, my students would love to see your classes creations please share via bit.ly/spheroart

The use of Sphero’s in your classroom will enhance your students enthusiasm and engagement. Whilst developing attributes of 21st century learners, students will continue to problem solve until they achieve success and their achievements celebrated with cheers of delight. Incorporating the Sphero into my lessons has increased my students love of learning and is teaching them critical skills to be successful in their futures.

 


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s