Programming with Spheros

Building my curriculum on the passions and wishes of my students is integral to my design.  Last year, when asked, students overwhelmingly stated that they wanted more experiences with robotics.  So, true to my word, I looked into purchasing and providing more time with robotics this year.  The crux is, robotic sets are VERY expensive!

Instead of only looking into Lego Robotic sets, I ordered a new solar set that focuses on the building aspect, but was also tuned into Spheros by my colleague and Flynn math integrationist, Kevin Grace.  Two weeks ago, fourth graders began a robotics unit.  Our newly acquired Spheros were the kickoff.

Students became acquainted with them slowly, learning how to connect them to iPads, then learning how to move them and then program them.  This week we were able to engage in a challenge.  As you’ll see in the pictures below, students had to program their robots to follow a line of tape on the rug.  These may seem simplistic at first sight, but students have to grapple with duration. speed AND angle within each programmable roll of the Sphero.

It was so amazing to watch students engaged and working together cooperatively!  Our I can statement of the day was:

  • I can collaborate and persevere with my partner through a programming challenge.

Students sat together in groups of fours and many worked together, building on each other’s ideas and learning from fails to produce a successful program.  The incredible part is how organically these skills happen from a simple and fun task such as this.  Most did not solve their challenge in one class, but I hope to build on these ideas and future classes.

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