Going beyond code with Sphero
As a teacher I’m always trying to find innovative and fun ways to get students engaged and excited about learning. I know that hands-on learning is one of the ways we learn best.
When I first found Sphero I thought: I need this in my classroom!
Soon I bought 5 Sphero robots, added 12 more and recently go 4 more bringing my total to 21 programmable robots for my students.
I’ve been using Sphero a lot since then and was chosen as a Sphero Hero recently, which is an elite group of 18 amazing educators from around the world, doing awesome things in their schools and classrooms with Sphero.
I’ve been getting a lot of tweets, emails and visits from teachers who want to see how we use Sphero to go far beyond just coding and focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, creativity, collaboration and communication to name a few things along with coding. So I decided to share what I did last week with Sphero with students in 5th, 7th and 8th grade @ Árskóli in Iceland.
Here are just a few ideas with pictures:
Writing with Sphero + Long Exposure / Slow Shutter app on iPad/iPhone.
Dancing with Sphero
My students coded their Sphero robots to dance. They are working with rhythm, collaboration, communication, creativity, math and having fun 🙂
Mirroring shapes in math class.
2 students code 2 Sphero robots to mirror each others path/shape. There they are working with collaboration, communication, coding and shapes.
Coding the local sports team logo with 6 Sphero robots
Our sports team was playing an important game later that day so we coded the team logo together and took a ‘long exposure/Slow shutter’ photograph with an iPhone.
Shapes with Sphero
The students project was to code shapes from a triangle to an octagon using loops and the right angles. Once finished they would photograph it using a long exposure/slow shutter app on iPad/iPhone.
All students needed to do once they figured this out is to change how many times the code would ‘Loop’ and change the ‘Heading’ at the bottom.
One of the projects we do with students is BattleBots where they get a ‘Sphero Chariot‘, Lego, paper, tape, BBQ sticks, pins, and a baloon.
The goal is to build a safe vehicle, defend your own balloon and pop the balloons for other teams.
There students are working with collaboration, design thinking, engineering and working with their hands… and have fun 🙂
Sphero theatrical performance
We usually have plastic cups (0,5 liter) and have 2-5 students together in a group. Each group picks a story, movie, fairytale they want to recreate with Sphero.
Tehy read it, write the script, create costumes for characters and code the Sphero for each character to move and stop at the right time. Students can either have the Sphero speak (through Siri on the iPad) or do the voices as the scene unfolds.
We also have a green screen (green poster) and record the play through the app GreenScreen by DoInk on the iPad.
Hope you learned something and can go out and try some of it with your students.
Contact me if you have any questions.
I’m on Twitter @IngviOmarsson
Ingvi Ómarsson, Sphero Hero
Chief Innovation Officer @ Skagafjörður School District in Iceland.