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  • Writer's pictureBrendan Liu

STEAM Summer Camp: Sphero!

For one of our STEM classes this year, we decided to introduce some basic engineering and computer science principles by incorporating some lessons and activities from the amazing Sphero curriculum. From the creators of littleBits comes an exciting transformation of the way kids PK-12 learn with a fun, comprehensive approach to STEAM (that's STEM + Art) and computer science.

By experimenting with one of the many coding robots that Sphero has to offer, specifically the Sphero BOLT (also one of their most advanced robots), we were able to cover the basics of computer programming in a fun and interactive way. Depending on their age, students were working with simple draw programs and driving programs and progressing all the way to creating their own block-based or Javascript code.

Aside from simply driving around, students also transformed their Sphero BOLT into an art bot to draw out their favorite pictures/scribbles, and created fun, personalized matrix animations (that were displayed as LED lights on top of the robot) to really add their own personal touch to each Sphero BOLT. To start off the first few days, students were tasked with creating programs that precisely moved the Sphero BOLT to their desired location.

One of the many highlights of this year's Sphero class was the recreation of the Hot Potato game through block coding, where students passed around the Sphero BOLT until a winner/loser was chosen based on the program that those students wrote. Everyone seemed to have a blast whether they were programming the game, or just playing with someone else who's finished their program. Here's a fun video demonstration of how this game worked!

Similar to the popular reality show BattleBots, students also had the opportunity to create their own "battle bot" by transforming their Sphero BOLT into a balloon-popping machine that they drove around inside a "battle arena". Like the art bot, activities like these involved a lot of thought into how specific aspects of their robots could be improved, and a lot of creativity regarding the designs of their individual robots.

From learning about refactoring code to improving their communication skills as programmers through pair-programming, this class was a great way for the students to gain some exposure into the more difficult sides of engineering and computer science, all through the help of Sphero. Come see what we have planned for the future!

More information on Sphero:

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