Sphero in the Middle Grades

Over the summer, my school’s library was able to purchase a Sphero robot through a grant on DonorsChoose. Sphero has been a big hit with students in my school. About the size of a baseball, this robot can work with a wide variety of free apps and games. What I love are the possibilities for coding. Draw N Drive is a great introduction to the idea of coding and is accessible for very young students. They set a speed, colors and draw a shape. When they run their program, Sphero carries out that design. Students quickly learn spaces in their drawing don’t work as expected.

MacroLab offers students more intense coding experiences. They can create looped commands, use the raw motor command to cause Sphero to flip or program Sphero to travel intricate paths.

Some classes at my school have been exploring Sphero during their intervention and extension block. Fifth graders are also rotating through a Sphero station during library classes. I’ve found small groups of two or three students per Sphero work best. Larger groups can work during an introduction when we are trying out Draw N Drive.

Using Sphero’s SPRK education lessons as a starting point, I created station cards that allow students to more independently explore Sphero. The cards begin with two videos on how Sphero works and then take students through Draw N Drive, the Sphero app and MacroLab. I also drew inspiration from Mrs. J in the Library’s Little Bits 101 cards.

Take a peek at these  SpheroIEChallenges. I also created a basic command sheet for students to use with Sphero.

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