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Sphero Kit
Basic Ball Control

Years F-2

Students are introduced to Sphero and its main features – direction, speed and colour. This lesson allows students to experiment through playing with Sphero and controlling it with the Sphero app.

This lesson idea was created by Steven Payne.



Overview

Resources

Prior Student Learning

Maths:

  • Students have done some work on navigational language (left, right, forward, backward).

Learning hook

Introduce Sphero and explain that we will be controlling Sphero by giving it instructions from the iPad.

You might want to have Sphero hiding in the corner – and drive it through the classroom to welcome it to the class.

Show the class how you are controlling it with the Sphero app – by dragging around the controller.

  • How fast is Sphero?
  • What colour are its lights?
  • I can drive Sphero around on the floor – what other things do you think it can do?

Explain that students are going to spend a short time exploring Sphero and learning the controls.

Learning map and outcomes

  • Students can move the Sphero around using the Sphero app
  • Students can change the colour of Sphero and alter its speed.
  • Students can follow a sequence of instructions

Learning input

Show the Sphero app (via TV or projector if available) and highlight the main controls.

  1. Main controller
  2. Tail light – use this at the start so that the blue tail light faces you
  3. Colour picker
  4. Speed
Annotated Sphero

Students spend some time getting used to the controls in small groups (three is good – one to control, one to give direction, one to retrieve the Sphero if he runs away). Each student to have a go at controlling Sphero.

Students should be familiar with the basic controls (1-4 above) but encourage them to click on other buttons and record what they discover.

Learning construction

Students create a sequence of instructions (using Flash cards) and control Sphero to follow the sequence. Have flashcards available for the class (a few of each card for each group), with commands for Sphero, e.g.

Perhaps also have some blank cards for students to add their own instructions based on what they discovered in the Learning Input.

One student makes up a sequence using the cards, another reads it step-by-step, and another controls the Sphero to follow the instructions. Swap roles so each student can try each of the tasks.

An alternative to using the cards is having the students create a maze, e.g. drawn on paper, or physically with boxes, Lego, etc. and then navigating Sphero through the maze. See lesson plan: Sphero Maze.

Learning demo

Once students have created sequences, controlled Sphero and solved any problems, choose one sequence of cards (or have one that you have prepared) and have two or three students follow the instructions.

  • Did all the Spheros do the same thing?
  • What was different?
  • What could we do to make the instructions more exact?

Learning reflection

Bring together the observations from the learning demo and discuss what they have learnt.

Don’t forget to show how to put Sphero to sleep!

  1. Click the Zzz and slide the switch.Annotated Sphero with 'Zzz' icon circled
  2. Click the settings cog in the app. Annotated Sphero with 'cog' icon circled

Resources