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Rolling Around the World with Sphero

This term Year 4 were working on the NSW Geography outcome  GE2-1 examines features and characteristics of places and environments. In Library I wanted them to focus on the skill of organising information using headings (main, sub, bullet points etc). As a lover of technology in education I wanted to play with my new robot Sphero!

This lead to the creation of our ‘Rolling Around the World’ task.

I hooked the students onto the task by demonstrating how Sphero could be programmed to move around a space.

We chatted about the task and created a plan:

  • draw the country (student choice) on a plastic sheet (you can buy  these for approx $4 at any party shop).
  • research cities and landmarks for the country – focus on the use of organisational tools (we experimented with the online tool http://linoit.com ) and add them to the map.
  • code Sphero to ‘roll around’ their country

Before we moved off to start our task I posed an additional 2 questions:

Sphero can change colour! How does that change the information you can share about the country? What extra information might you need to research?
Could you use the colour change feature to reflect temperature ? What extra information would you need to locate?
I took this opportunity to explain to the students how latitude and longitude of a location will influence climate

Sphero can talk! How does that change the information you can share about the country? Could Sphero tell us some interesting cultural facts about a city or landmark when he rolls upon it?

From this point on the students took control of the task and loved it.

A few lessons in I asked the students to design a rubric for us to assess how they performed in this task (because we do need to still check off our outcomes).

I was surprised how much they enjoyed this. I am a believer in setting Learning Intentions at the beginning of a task however I think creating the rubric a few lessons in gave them some real knowledge to draw on.  Worth trying!!