Whether your student has never touched a robot before or is completely committed to their robotics team at school, there’s no denying the importance of robotics.
From Roombas to home security to medicine, robots are everywhere—including, obviously, robotics camp!
What is Sphero and how does it work?
Sphero is an adorable, durable, interactive—you guessed it—sphere. Don’t let its size deceive you! Its functionality is almost boundless. Let’s dig in.
(Students ages 7-9 have the opportunity to interact with (and take home!) a Sphero BOLT, our brand-new robot offering!)
What can Sphero do?
Thanks to Sphero’s super-strong, anti-scratch, waterproof shell, it can do a lot!
For instance, at camp, students connect to provided tablets via Bluetooth, and dive into programming on day one! With a maze activity, kids learn to program their 'bots to navigate a maze—without touching the walls.
Sphero also has a programmable 8x8 LED matrix, so students can code it to change colors when Sphero rolls, stops or starts, reaches a goal, or whenever else they’d like.
The Draw Canvas, a part of the Sphero app, is a perfect introduction to programming. Students are challenged to think about the different steps that go into programming a robot while taking into consideration the robot’s restrictions.
For example, students draw a path for the Sphero to follow in the app, and can customize the color and speed. Then they simply press “Start” and watch their robot go!
And yes, there is definitely more!
Sphero can also be a tool to teach younger campers about directions; programming Sphero to rotate 90 degrees, go north, and rotate 180 degrees sets students up with a solid foundation of numbers.
So, the students are writing code?
Our younger campers utilize what’s called block coding. This means they’re not typing out code by hand—which can be complicated for such an age group—but rather dragging visual blocks into the coding area and connecting them.
It looks like this:
To decipher the visual, this code tells the program, “When I press start, Sphero will roll __ degrees at __ speed for __ time.” Students can enter whatever values they’d like in those blanks, and Sphero will complete the code, right in front of their eyes!
This is an invaluable stepping stone—an understanding of the logic of programming concepts that proves essential to writing out code later on when they’re ready to move up to, for example, our Coding and Engineering 101 or Build and Code Your Own Take-Home Laptop courses for ages 10–12.
Programming and robotics? Sounds rad!
It is. And that’s not all the students can do with their Spheros.
Remember how I mentioned the lil’ spheres are waterproof? Some camp locations are able to purchase kiddie pools, or even allow students to hang out at the campus fountain, so campers can code their ‘bots to swim!
Spheros are also Bluetooth-enabled, so they can communicate with each other. This means students can program the robot’s LED matrices to flash light messages, or even play Rock, Paper, Scissors!
The point of all these cool examples—and yes they’re all really in our curriculum, written by our knowledgeable Education Department—is to show how dynamic Sphero is.
So, what are you waiting for?
From slam poetry to mimicry to dance choreography, the flexibility and fun your student can enjoy with their take-home Sphero is endless.