Learning Programming Basics With Rolling Robots

Students at Chester M. Stephens Elementary School in Budd Lake are using newly-purchased round robots in the school’s library. The Sphero SPRKs, grapefruit-sized programmable polycarbonate balls, are helping the kids learn the fundamentals of programming and the logic necessary to code effectively.

Using a Bluetooth paired tablet, a student can control the direction, speed, and color of a SPRK using a simple drag and drop interface. The SPRK can be programmed to roll in specific patterns and run mazes, for example, and be used to teach students practical uses for geometry and even physics. There is also a mission-based game that teaches students about the movements, controls, and tricks that a SPRK can do.

Michele Beddow, CMS’ library media specialist, is now using the SPRKs with her fifth grade students during part of their weekly library period. Because of the enthusiastic response, she plans to expand the offering to third- and fourth-graders soon.

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