Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Stimulate STEM in your classroom with SPHEROS

What are SPHEROS?

A sphero is a spherical robotic that students can program with ease using apps for the iPad or Android device.  The Sphero is highly engaging with its ability to roll at various speeds rolling. It also has engaging colour changing and sound features.

Using SPHEROs for learning

This durable, highly engaging robot provides a great entry point for inquiry,  inventive thinking and learning using coding in the following curriculum areas:
  • Mathematics in determining speed, distance, geometry
  • Geographical location and directions
  • Design new vehicles incorporating the sphero 
  • Create artworks
  • Problem solving
Target student audience
Sphero can be used initially by students who may not know how to program and then  that learning can be extended to further develop the students' coding ability. We see that the sphero can be used in the early years but is probably best suited to learners in Years 3-6.

Programming the Sphero 
The main app for use with the Sphero is Lighting Lab but there is also the opportunity to use other apps such as Tickle and Tynker. When programming the Sphero
  • Beginners can use the drawing tools to program a pathway for the Sphero to travel.
  • Intermediate coders use block coding in a drag and drop environment, while
  • Advanced users can utilise text based programming
Sphero Olympics - a case study from OLOR Kellyville:

Recently Stephen Bamford and his Year 6 students participated in a Sphero Olympic Challenge. For inspiration they used Nathan Jones iBook Sphero Olympics, available on the iBookstore. Thereafter the ideas flowed. The students were organised into twelve teams representing a range of countries - a Sphero Olympic Ceremony was devised. Competitive events included sprints, chariot racing, swimming, sailing, archery and also a Gymnastics floor routine event. Overall the Sphero Olympics proved to be an engaging learning experience for students which helped students engaged in coding to meet outcomes from both Science & Technology and Mathematics. Some videos from the challenge are available on Steve Bamford's Youtube Channel.