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Sphero Bolt And SPRK+ In The Classroom

Sphero Shape Activity birds eye view featuring Sphero Bolt & SPRK robotics and 2 students on carpet.

The way we engage our students and support their learning continues to evolve as we move further into the 21st century. There are now many technological tools, resources and applications that can enhance our students’ learning when used to redefine their learning experiences.

The Sphero robot is one such tool that has positively enhanced students’ learning. The amazingly versatile Sphero robot will engage and empower your students with hands-on learning. 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. In this blog post, we will look at the range of Sphero products on the market and their varying capabilities and prices.

Sphero SPRK+
The Sphero SPRK+ can roll at a speed of up to 7km/h in any direction. It can also spin, flip and change colour. Using a range of apps, students can code the Sphero to direct its movement.

Sphero Spark

 

Sphero BOLT
The Sphero BOLT is the latest product in the Sphero range and includes all the features of the SPRK+ along with the addition of a striking LED matrix and advanced sensors to track speed, acceleration and directions. The Sphero BOLT also features infrared communication, allowing it to “talk” to other BOLTs.

Sphero Bolt on white background

 

Creatively designed lessons incorporating Spheros can develop many of the skills we want for our learners. Students will be designing and creating code to direct the Sphero while collaborating, problem-solving, testing and thinking critically and creatively, all fundamental characteristics of 21st-century learners.

 

Lesson Ideas:

Sphero Mini Golf

Sphero golf hole with tablet and number 1

Students develop their coding skills by creating and playing a game of Sphero Mini Golf.

Materials:

    • Spheros (one per group)
    • Masking tape or chalk
    • Kinder squares and circles
    • Mini Golf template (free Sphero Mini Golf  PDF download)

 

  •  Sphero golf hole with 2 students and number 3

Procedure:

    • Create nine mini-golf holes around the classroom. Using masking tape, chalk or other materials, clearly mark the outline of each hole and use a kinder circle to number each hole.
    • Students code the Sphero in the Sphero Edu App to get it to make its way to the hole (coloured circle).
    • Students record how many lines of code it took for them to code the Sphero to each hole on the scoring sheet.

 

Angles and Shapes

Sphero Angles and Shapes birds eye view

Students apply their knowledge and understanding of shapes and angles by creating them with the Sphero.

Materials:

 

Sphero Angles and Shapes activity. Track on floor students holding tabletSphero Angles and Shapes activity. Track on floor.

Procedure:

    • Design a 2D shape that includes three different types of angles on planning sheet.
    • Create the shape on the classroom floor using masking tape or chalk and a protractor.
    • Code the Sphero in the Sphero Edu App to manoeuvre around their shape.

 

 

Chariots

Sphero Chariot activity. Sphero Robotic & Chariot created out of art & craft materials

Students create chariots using various art and craft materials to dress the Sphero.

Materials:

    • Sphero (one per group)
    • Various arts and craft materials

Sphero Chariot activity. Sphero Robotic & Chariot 2 created out of art & craft materialsSphero Chariot activity. Sphero Robotic & Chariot 3 created out of art & craft materials

 

Procedure:

    • On paper, students design a chariot for their Sphero.
    • Students create their chariot and place it on their Sphero.
    • Students code the Sphero in the Sphero EDU app to race the chariots to find a winner and to test if their creations stay assembled.

 


Sphero Swimming

Sphero swimming activity. Sphero robot tablet and bowl of water on table.

As the Sphero robot is waterproof, you can design lessons that incorporate water.

Materials:

    • Sphero
    • Tub of water or school swimming pool
    • Rubber bands

Sphero swimming activity. Sphero robot floating in water.

Procedure:

    • Place the Sphero in a tub of water or school swimming pool.
    • Have students predict what will happen.
    • Add a rubber band around the Sphero and have students predict what changes may take place in the water and then test again.
    • Explore what happens when you add multiple rubber bands to the outside of the Sphero.

 


Sphero Art

Sphero Art activity. Finished painted artwork on canvas.

Using water-based paint, the Sphero can be dipped into any colour to then create a masterpiece.

Materials:

    • Sphero
    • Water-based paint
    • Baby wipes (used for cleaning Sphero)
    • Paper
    • Walls to keep Sphero contained (I suggest using the lids of A4 or A3 paper boxes)

Sphero Art activity. Sphero robots painting canvas inside boxes. Paints and tablet on table.

Procedure:

    • Dip or cover the Sphero in paint.
    • Students code the Sphero in the Sphero EDU app or drive the Sphero over their paper to create their masterpieces.
    • Make sure you use baby wipes to clean the paint off each Sphero.

 


Integrated Learning

Sphero Integrated learning Activity. When you go to Melbourne book. Paper mache bus & Sphero Robot on table Sphero Integrated learning activity. Structure & bus made from newspapers. Pictures of Melbourne landmarks

With creative lesson design, there are many ways to integrate the Sphero in your units of work.

Connecting to our Year 3 unit looking at the history of Melbourne, the Sphero was used to integrate these curriculum areas;

    • History
    • Mathematics – 3D objects
    • Art – Design
    • Digital Technologies

Materials:

    • Sphero
    • Newspaper
    • Small boxes

Sphero Integrated learning activity. Structure & bus made from newspapers. Picture of stadium Sphero Integrated learning activity. Structure & bus made from newspapers. 2 Pictures of Melbourne landmarks

Procedure:

    • Students use newspaper to design and create iconic Melbourne buildings or landmarks.
    • Students use boxes to design and create a Melbourne tram.
    • Situate the buildings and landmarks around the classroom to represent the city.
    • Placing the Sphero inside the trams, students code the Sphero in the Sphero EDU app to manoeuvre to each building or landmark in the city.

 

Each of these activities demonstrates the versatility of using Spheros in your classroom and how they can be used creatively to support student learning. The hands-on learning experiences reinforce learned concepts while developing the key 21st-century skills of communication,  problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking. There really are limitless possibilities of how Sphero can be integrated into student learning.

 

Featured Products:

Sphero SPRK+

Sphero Bolt

 

How have you used Sphero in your classroom?

 

About the author

Eleni Kyritsis is an award-winning Year 3 teacher and Leader of Curriculum and innovation from Melbourne, Australia. Eleni facilitates professional learning workshops around the world that focus on unleashing creativity and curiosity in classrooms. You can contact her at elenikyritis.com and @misskyritsis

 

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Dash And Dot In The Classroom

Dash story telling activity with girl on iPad for the classroom

Dash and Dot robots are a fantastic resource to introduce students to the fundamentals of coding. These interactive robots have the ability to manoeuvre around the floor in all directions, sense objects, flash LED lights and record and playback audio. This functionality allows Dash and Dot to avoid obstacles, sing, dance and respond to voice commands.

Connecting via bluetooth to a mobile device, there are a variety of apps that integrate with Dash and Dot. Each of these apps not only develops students’ programming skills but also key 21st century skills such as creativity, problem solving and critical thinking.

Wonder Workshop, the creators of Dash and Dot, have developed their own range of apps that support and guide students’ learning.

Go App

Preview of the Go application main screen

The Go app allows students to manually control Dash and Dot, similarly to a remote control. This is a great introduction to the robot which allows students to become familiar with its manoeuvrability. Within the Go app, students can control the speed and light display and change the direction that Dash is facing. Sounds can be added, and up to ten voice recordings can be stored for playback.

Wonder App

Preview of the Wonder application main screen

The Wonder app provides students with a range of challenges that develop their ability to program Dash and Dot. Students can travel through a variety of levelled quests, including the African Grasslands, Arctic Wilderness and Outer Space. Once students complete these challenges, they can begin creating their own worlds.

Blockly App

Preview of the Blockley application coding screen

The Blockly app provides students with challenges to develop their understanding of block coding. They are introduced to conditional statements, loops and sensors. Students can program Dash and Dot to manoeuvre by responding to button inputs and voice commands.

Path App

Preview of the Path application main screen

The Path app, as it suggests, allows students to program Dash to follow a set path. Students can complete a range of set challenges and then create their own.


Six Ways to Implement Dash and Dot in the Classroom

    • Location and coordinates
    • Measurement
    • Number facts game
    • Storytelling
    • Sounds/ letter recognition
    • Excursion reflection

 

Location and Coordinates

Location and coordinates grid with letters and coloured dots on floor

Dash can be used in Mathematics to support students’ learning about location and coordinates.

 

Dash coordinates floor activity with letters and numbers of card

    • Teachers create a coordinate grid on the floor using masking tape or chalk.
    • Students program Dash to move to specific locations on the grid.
    • Students can program Dash to speak the coordinate when it arrives there.

 

Measurement

Dash measurement activity with route drawn on paper and path directed by iPas

Students need to provide Dash with specific distances to move forwards, backwards, left, or right to manoeuvre him around the floor.

    • Students draw a maze on butchers paper.
    • Alternatively, students can use on-hand materials in the classroom such as blocks, straws, string, books etc to create a maze.
    • Students program Dash by calculating the distance and angle of each of Dash’s movements to avoid obstacles and successfully complete the maze.

 

Number Facts Game

Dash number facts activity on square grid on floor

    • Students create a grid on the floor with numbers in each square that represent the answers to number facts.
    • Using Dash and Dot, students program Dot to say different number facts.
    • When Dot says a number fact, students program Dash to move to the correct answer on the grid.

Alternative number facts game:

    • Have two students or groups working on the grid at the same time.
    • Groups take it in turns rolling two ten-sided dice. (You can always add or remove dice depending on student abilities.)
    • Students add the numbers together then program Dash to move to the correct answer.
    • Once they get to the correct number they place a kinder square over it to claim it.
    • The group with the most coloured squares wins. If the answer is already covered, the group misses their turn.

 

Storytelling:

Dash story telling activity with girl on iPad

    • Students recreate stories they have read by programming Dash to move through the story.
    • At each major point in the story, students can record their own voice to give important information.
    • Example: The Three Little Pigs. Dash plays the character of the Wolf. Students create the scene and program Dash to move around making huffing and puffing noises before he blows the house down. Dot can be used as one of the Three Little Pigs stuck in a house, who can also retell parts of the story.

 

Sound and Letter Recognition:

Dash sound and letter recognition activity on floor

    • Students or teachers write letters or sounds on kinder squares.
    • Students then scatter the kinder squares around the floor.
    • The teacher says a letter or sound.
    • Students program Dash to move to the letter or sound that they hear.

Extension activity:

    • The teacher says a word, for example, ‘mat’.
    • Students program Dash to manoeuvre to all three letters.


Excursion Reflection

Dash excursion activity facing front

    • Example: As part of a unit of inquiry, Year 1 students explored their local shopping strip.
    • On returning to school, the students recreated the shopping strip out of cardboard boxes.
    • The students program Dash using directional movement to measure distances to manoeuvre around the shopping strip.
  •   Dash story telling activity with girl on iPad for the classroom

Featured Product: Dash & Dot Educational Robots Pack

 

How are you using Dash & Dot in Your classroom? We would love to hear from you!

About the Author

Eleni Kyritsis is an award winning teacher from Melbourne. She is the Leader of Curriculum and Innovation at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar. Eleni facilitates professional learning workshops around the world that focus on unleashing creativity and curiosity in classrooms. You can contact her at elenikyritis.com and @misskyritsis

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