Near the end of March, I decided it was time to host an Obstacle Course challenge for Sphero. I was ready to see kids programming Sphero and not just playing with it. So I set up a Maker Monday to start an obstacle course in a specified section of the library.
The kids enjoyed building ramps out of cardboard, but participation was not as high as I expected. So in the afternoon when a student asked if he could build a track on top of the library shelves, I gave him (and the others that joined) a few guidelines.
Unconventional obstacle course guidelines:
- You must create bumpers to keep Sphero on top of the shelves!
- You must enlist the help of others should Sphero escape the track or the bumpers
- You must program Sphero with Macrolab, you cannot use the Drive app or you lose your Sphero obstacle course privileges!
Interact with my Thinglink below to see the progression of the obstacle course and the community that grew because of this unconventional makerspace activity!
Sphero Obstacle Course Challenge on Thinglink
Over the course of the week, students would come in and add to the obstacle course until one day during advisory when a student decided we just had to program Sphero to drive from one shelf to the next. It was madness, a little chaotic, and a ton of fun! So many kids got involved watching us and cheering us on. This top of the library shelves course connected us as a maker community.
What we learned:
- It is easier to program Sphero to drive in a straight line than it is to drive it in a straight line.
- Lining up Sphero’s tail light is difficult. Precision is key to navigating the obstacle course.
- Putting Sphero on top of the shelf made it easier to program and easier to figure out the correct angles needed for programming.
- Programming sphero takes an understanding of distance, rate, and time!
- It’s more fun to drive on top of the shelf than on the floor when you are doing this as an unstructured activity.
- Mr. Graves at MHS9 built an excellent floor obstacle course for Sphero by partnering with an AVID class.