Sphero BOLT and Sphero Mini - STEM Activities and Games for Kids
The Sphero Mini is a robot and educational tool that can be programmed to enhance a student’s learning experience. The Sphero Mini Education Kit comes with 16 clear app-enabled robotic balls, bumpers to protect your bots, mini bowling pins, construction sets and traffic cones to make activities more interesting. It also comes with activity cards that can help to expand the imagination and exploration of your students in STEAM Learning. The Sphero Mini is a smaller robot with LED lights that can glow a range of colours in the dark. It contains gyroscope, motor encoders, accelerometer sensors which allow it to move in any direction and can track it’s speed. Simply connect to Sphero Play and Sphero Edu app to make the most of this learning resource and read our ideas of great applications of the Sphero Mini in the classroom.
Subject Link: English
One activity students can play with the Sphero Mini is called ‘Archie Ball’. This activity combines hands-on learning and requires students to develop their coding skills. Simply take the arches from the kit and let students set up an obstacle course with the materials. The students will then need to code the Sphero Mini to roll through the arches to score points. To do this, students will need to write out the directions, learn how to code the Sphero to move in the directions they want and, if they miss the arch, they will have to figure out the incorrect code and problem solve to try to fix it. This activity is great for students aged 8-12, to learn more about clarity and accuracy in the writing of directions and seeing those come to life.
Subject Link: Engineering
Another great activity with the Sphero Mini is ‘Battering Ram’ where the students build their own towers using the columns from the kit, place mini bowling pins on top and code the Sphero to knock the structure down. This activity encourages creativity in the tower design as well as engineering skills as students seek to identify the strongest shapes to use in their designs. Furthermore, only towers with strong foundations will withstand the force of the ‘Battering Ram’. Students code the robot to move in order to strike the tower and will need to also consider the weakest part of the tower to strike in order to knock it down quickly and efficiently. This is a great activity for students to play in teams, especially when learning about buildings and architecture.
Subject Link: Maths
Are you looking for an innovative way to engage students in learning about number bonds to 10? Then, look no further. Using the Sphero Mini, students can lay out 10 bowling pins and code the robot to knock them down. Students will be given two attempts to knock down all 10, requiring them to work out after their first attempt how many they knocked down and how many more they need to knock down – their number bonds to 10! This is a great game for 3-6 year olds to learn about and practice with numbers and can easily be increased in difficulty by using 20 pins.
Subject Link: English
Another great activity to support students to learn English is the game ‘Plot Bot’. This game can be played with students aged anywhere between 5 and 14. Students can use the construction kit or any other objects available to create their own story setting. Then, students will plan a story that takes place in the setting they have developed. Younger students can create a story with a beginning, middle and end and older students can make a narrative that follows the story mountain: opening, build-up, problem, resolution and ending.
Once their stories are planned, students will code the Sphero to move around the setting in line with their story plan. Further extend the students by getting them to orally tell their story while running their code. This is a great game to promote communication skills and develop the students’ imaginations.
The Sphero Bolt
The Sphero Bolt is a more advanced coding robot that allows students to experience many programming scenarios. One highlight of this robot is that it comes with a 8 by 8 LED matrix that can be animated and displayed in real-time. This means that students can create their own designs that will show up on the LED matrix. It is also equipped with advanced robot sensors that students can use as they learn more about robotics and develop their programming skills. This Sphero Bolt is also a perfect tool to complement hands-on challenges and activities. Let’s explore some of its applications for the classroom.
Subject Link: Maths
One great activity to play with the Sphero Bolt is ‘Maze Mayhem’, a perfect activity for students ages 6 – 13. Simply put tape on the floor to create a maze, or create a maze using other objects like cardboard, Lego pieces or books. Students will then apply their understanding of directional language and degrees in order to code their robot to find its way out of the maze. This teaches students to code their robots with accuracy and also extends the students to extend their coding skills to develop sequences, such as ‘go straight for 30m, stop, turn left 90 degrees, go straight for 10m, stop’. Opportunities for extension in this activity are endless: students can think of and code different paths the robot can take or compare the most efficient way to exit the maze.
Layers Of Earth
Subject Link: Geography
The activity ‘Layers of Earth’ is great for students to apply their understanding of the Earth’s layers. Students can create a model of Earth and use the Sphero Bolt to navigate through the different layers. Students can use their imaginations to travel to the centre of the earth with their robots, while stopping to explain how each layer is different as they go. Once students have mastered the layers of Earth, why not use the same activity to consider the layout of the Solar System. Students can build models of the planets and travel between them, learning about light years and what is it like to be in space.
Subject Link: Art
Another great activity with the Sphero Bolt is to learn about shapes and draw! This is a really easy activity to do and it requires very little preparation. Students simply open ‘Canvas’ on the ‘Sphero Edu’ app and draw shapes, then press play and the robot will draw out the shape on the surface it is on! Why not pair up students to play a game with one person drawing and the other person guessing the name of the shape. Or extend students by getting them to combine this into combining shapes to create their own robot in a way to make the Sphero move as little as possible between shapes! The opportunities here are endless.
If you’d like more information about implementing the Robot Drawing activity with your students, simply visit: https://edu.sphero.com/cwists/preview/6872x
I hope you feel inspired to use Sphero Mini 16-pack or Sphero Bolt in your classrooms. Both have many learning applications and advantages to enhance learning experiences. The Sphero Mini is perfect for classrooms due to its small size, while the Sphero Bolt is a great addition for students to learn more about complex programming and to use robots to learn about more abstract concepts. Both these products are great additions to the home and classroom!