As teachers we need to provide our students with opportunities to learn how to learn, supporting them to find and solve problems. Our role involves developing learners for many jobs that are yet to exist. The critical question we must ask as educators is – How might we best prepare our students for their future?

There are many tools, resources, and applications that can be used to enhance student learning and develop their lifelong learning skills. The Sphero is one of these, it is amazingly versatile and will engage and empower your students. 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.

The Sphero can roll at a speed of up to 7km/h in any direction, spin, flip, and change colour. Using a range of Apps, students can accurately direct the movement of the Sphero using code.

Creatively designed lessons incorporating Spheros can develop many of the attributes we want for our learners. Students will be designing and creating code to direct the Sphero while connecting, communicating, collaborating, problem solving, testing, failing, and iterating – all key characteristics of 21st century learners.

Some of my favourite lessons using Spheros

Mathematics – Shape and Angle investigation
Tickle App

  • On paper, students create and sketch a 2D shape showing their knowledge of angles
  • Using masking tape, rulers, and protractors, they recreate their shape on the floor
  • Students connect the Sphero to Tickle, and use code to direct the Sphero to follow the masking tape shape.

Skills students develop

  • Coding using block code
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed

Mathematics – Data, Measurement, Mean, Median and Mode
Tickle App

  • The Sphero can be used as a variable to collect data, recording the time it takes to complete a task.
  • Using masking tape or cones, students can record the time it takes the Sphero to follow a course.
  • Using different speeds, students can measure the distance the Sphero travels in a set time.
  • The Sphero is waterproof, so students can record the time it takes to travel through water. Rubber bands can be added to increase friction and alter results.

Skills students develop

  • Coding using block code
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed
  • Data, Analysing data, Mean, Median & Mode

Angles – Mini Golf
Tickle App

  • Students design a mini golf course
  • Using Tickle, they direct the Sphero to each hole in as few code directions as possible
  • They can analyse the data from the game and calculate the Mean, Median and Mode for each hole of the course.

Skills students develop

  • Coding using block code
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed
  • Data, Analysing data, Mean, Median & Mode

Language
Tickle App

  • Students design and create a plastic cup character that can be placed over the Sphero
  • They create a story line and move their cup character to retell the story.

Skills students develop

  • Art, Design
  • Storytelling, retell skills descriptive language, character development
  • Plot, storyline

Sphero Art
Tickle App

Using Tickle, Students dip the Sphero into paint and then place it onto a large blank canvas (wipe the Sphero clean after each use using baby wipes).

Tickle App
Students can code shapes and images

Draw & Drive App
Students can draw an image on the iPad screen which the Sphero will follow.

Skills students develop

  • Art, Design
  • Percentages, Angles, Measurement, Time, Distance, Speed.

If you are participating in Sphero Art, my students would love to see your classes creations please share via bit.ly/spheroart

The use of Spheros in your classroom will enhance your students’ enthusiasm and engagement. While developing attributes of 21st century learners, students will continue to problem solve until they achieve success and their achievements are celebrated with cheers of delight. Incorporating the Sphero into my lessons has increased my students’ love of learning and is teaching them critical skills for their futures.