What looks like a light up ball, is actually one of my favorite STEM tech tools to use in the classroom. While the students like driving them around, there is so much more to do with these rolling balls of fun! Did I mentioned that you can throw them up in the air and they won't break. Use them paint or run them through light water. 

Sphero Edu is a STEAM-based tool that uses coding within their software to promote 21st Century skills. Sphero Edu prides itself on going beyond the coding by nurturing student's creativity, which is more than a lot of programs can do. 

One of the wonderful things about the Sphero, is that the app works on almost all devices. You can download the app on Mac Apple Store, Google Chrome, Amazon App Store, Microsoft and any mobile device. This means that even if you don't have iPads in your classroom, students can use them using Chromebooks or classroom computers.

The app is super friendly. After you create an account, you will be asked to connect your Sphero. Depending on the kind of Sphero you have depends on how you connect it.

Once you have connected your Sphero, you can browse through already made programs, take your Sphero on a test drive or actually code your robot to do what you want.

In the videos below, are my students just having fun driving the Sphero's around. Depending on time, this is what I have them start off with. This gets them accustomed to the directions (which tend to be opposite). They can also change the color that their Sphero is. 

After letting them play around with them by driving them is when you can begin to have your students code. When creating a new program, this is what you or students will see. Below the blank screen, students can scroll and have a bunch of different options to choose from. I created a sample of what the code could look like. Students can change the degrees of the Sphero's turn, how fast it goes and for how long. They can code the Sphero to say something, make a noise or even turn a different color. 

I used the coding specifically when we were talking about Geometry. I gave my students a checklist and they had to create a maze for their Sphero to move through. For example, it had to have an intersecting line, right angles, straight angles and so on. It took a lot of trial and error for them to figure out how to work it exactly. 

Other ways that you can use the Spheros in the Classroom are: 

1. Have your students code them to be planets in the Solar System and orbit a sun. 
2. Force and Motion 
3. Use the Sphero in reading to play the "Big Bad Wolf" and knock down students structures 

While these are just a few ideas for the Sphero, their website offers already made activities that you can have your students complete or play around with. 

Check out their website, download their app and have fun! 


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