This week I had the opportunity to watch some of our Grade 7 learners work with robotics. Our middle school has purchased a class set of the robotic toy called Sphero. The Sphero Sprk+ is an amazing device. The Students are able to interact with Sphero using an App they download on a device. For us here in the middle school, we have classroom iPads that have the App loaded on them. Mr. Bell, tipped his classroom tables on their side and set up an arena for the 7 Spheros to be placed inside. He then asked students to set up an obstacle course using skipping ropes, cones, and bowling pins. His instructions to the groups of students was to enter code to make your Sphero go around the obstacles without touching any and park themselves in a circle he made out of a skipping rope. Mr. Bell added one more rule which was that the first person in the group entered code until the Sphero touched and obstacle then the iPad was passed to the next group member so each member got a turn to code and work the robots.
The room was a tizzy of talk, cheering and banter as the groups modified lines of code repeatedly to get their Sphero to comply to the rules. In a flash thirty minutes had expired and the first group cheered as their robot parked perfectly in the circle
Our new BC Education Plan includes the area of Applied Design, Skills and Technology. Our middle school will be creating an exploration in each grade level to work with these robot toys and expose students to coding. We are excited to be engaged in 21st Century learning like this.