What is a Sphero?
A Sphero is a spherical robot. It can be controlled by remote control, coding blocks or drawing on the app or Chrome extension 'Sphero EDU'. The Sphero can roll, change colours, and are waterproof!
How might we design an engaging game?
Task: Design a maze game for Sphero!
Student Level: Year 4+ Can be adapted to suit Level 2, 3 or 4 of the NZ Curriculum
Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Time and Resources:
1 Sphero per pair or group
iPad or Chromebook with app or extension downloaded “Sphero Edu”
Materials to make/build maze- blocks, cardboard etc
A variety of measurement tools- 30cm rulers, metre rulers, tape measures
This is an integrated unit involving a number of curriculum areas such as art, technology, mathematics and digital technologies. The following achievement objectives are Level 3.
Computational thinking progress outcome 2: In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users, students give, follow and debug simple algorithms in computerised and non-computerised contexts. They use these algorithms to create simple programs involving outputs and sequencing (putting instructions one after the other) in age-appropriate programming environments.
Mathematics Level 3:
Measurement: Use linear scales and whole numbers of metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), angle, temperature, and time.
Position and orientation: Use a coordinate system or the language of direction and distance to specify locations and describe paths.
Number strategies: Use a range of additive and simple multiplicative strategies with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages.
Key Competency Links:
Thinking: Planning and design process for the maze for the Sphero. What materials will be used to make the maze?
Using language, text and symbols: Using topic specific words. EG Vocabulary for the digital technologies curriculum such as code, loop, block, repeat, angle etc. Using the Block coding option when coding Sphero.
Managing self: Finding the right tools for the job, working in a team, taking responsibility for the individual role in the group
Relating to others: working in a group to solve the task, thinking about the end user.
Participating and contributing: Completing tasks with your team, presenting the maze to others to trial.
Step by Step Lesson:
1. Work out how far Sphero travels- test and trial! What code makes the Sphero roll 30cm, 1metre? (HINT: Start with a simple roll block, set the speed and set the duration to 1 second.)
2. In small groups, students use materials to build/draw/create a maze for the Sphero.
3. Draw/sketch the maze on a piece of paper.
4. Measure the maze you have built and record measurements on your paper maze.
5. Plan your code so that when your press start the Sphero will navigate its way through the entire maze without being touched.
6. Use the blocks on the Sphero app to build the code and test it out.
7. Test, trial, debug- repeat!
8. Present and share!
How else could you do that?
Contextualise your maze: This could be a city, a map, a country, or a two storey building/maze!
Challenge others: Swap your maze with another group to figure out the code!
Gamify: Design elements that make it more of a game/challenge for others to play. Perhaps there are points for collecting certain items? Or reaching certain parts of the maze?
Tips and Tricks
Have students create their mazes on a movable piece of cardboard to store for later if you plan to do this lesson over a few days or in different sessions.
The measurements are very important- you may need to support students with measurement skills depending on level.
Consider using a big space like a hall.
Students will need to have logged in to create programmes with the blocks- consider setting up accounts before the task.
Embrace the chaos that comes with trialling and testing. Set boundaries about using the robots and space you are in.
Find more tips, tricks and videos at https://edu.sphero.com/cwists/preview/177-maze-mayhem-stem-challengex
More ideas and lessons: https://www.sphero.com/education/
Buy a Sphero here: https://www.noelleeming.co.nz/