Lets Get the Ball Rolling

Teaching computer science and critical thinking in elementary can be a difficult task. With so much fun technology how can educators translate fun into learning? That’s where Sphero comes in.

Since returning from Holiday break we have introduced our little elementary students to Sphero, a programmable rolling robot. With Sphero, students can learn the basics of coding and programming while having fun. To ease students into how Sphero works, we played a few rounds of Sphero Soccer with every grade. Using the back side of the reading rug and little painters tape, we had ourself a Sphero Soccer field. Splitting into teams of three, the biggest question was “Who will be the goalie?” No goalie is needed they soon found out.

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Sphero Soccer introduced the basic controls of the drive app and how the Sphero moves and operates. Many students found that speed isn’t everything and control is key. They were problem solving and using critical thinking. With a few tips, we found many students were changing tactics, adjusting speed, and using team work to move the tennis ball into the goal. Overall Sphero Soccer was a great success and many of our younger elementary students where excited for the next Tech time.

Introducing computer science to our upper elementary we took a different approach. Using painters tape we create a race track on our HS auditorium stage. Given instructions on how to use the Drive app and a few suggestions every student had a chance to race their classmates.

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As with the lower elementary, our racers found that speed isn’t everything in Sphero Grad Prix. Some students realized that slower the Sphero rolls, the more control they have and their Sphero remains on the track and won the race.

Sphero is a great tool for teaching basic computer science concepts and critical thinking skills that will help them in every aspect of life. In the near future we will introduce students to programming Sphero and the game of Bocce Ball.