Noel Leeming & Sphero develop skills for the real-world

Sphero SPRK+  inspires curiosity, creativity and invention through connected play and coding.  Noel Leeming Tech Solutions Learning spent about a year with our trusty Sphero robotic products visiting various schools around New Zealand. 

Our initial challenge at a primary age level was to make the experience both fun AND educational (as kids loved to ‘drive’ them around but we had a bit more difficulty keeping them engaged with the SPRK coding platform).

Our solution to this was to create robo classroom obstacle courses! To do this we would mark an X somewhere in the classroom. The students would then have to go back behind the starting line and using SPRK, program their robot to avoid obstacles (walls, chairs, desks, bins etc.). First to reach the X won and got to create the next obstacle course. The catch was that if students hit an obstacle they would have to start back at the beginning and hand the controlling device (tablet/phone) to the next student in the group.



This proved to be a challenging, entertaining and a rewarding experience for the students and really helped them think critically about how building in the ‘steps’ into their programming blocks provided a useful way to problem solve.

We’re also planning on using robots such as Sphero as an addition to our ‘Hour of Code’ sessions, so that after students understood the basics of blockly/scratch style coding they could appreciate its practical application on something real-world.

SPRK EDU Program 

There’s no rule that says learning shouldn’t be fun, or that playing can’t be valuable. If there is, the SPRK program was created to break it. We know that kids love Sphero, so we turned that love into learning and creation. SPRK makes the skills of the future approachable and practical. And most importantly, fun.

Whether you’re an educator or a parent, SPRK lessons give kids a fun crash course in programming while sharpening STEM and
critical thinking skills.

School Lessons

SPRK’s school CORE lessons challenge students to act as real world engineers, ocean researchers and emergency responders. These activities incorporate both visual and text-based programming using the MacroLab and
OrbBasic apps and align with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

Core Lessons

From polygons to percentages, CORE lessons explore the principals of math and science through programming. SPRK begins with MacroLab – a visual programming app. After completing five MacroLab lessons, students will be ready for advanced lessons in OrbBasic – utilising a powerful app for text-based programming.

STEM Challenges

After completing CORE lessons, students will be equipped for STEM challenges. These multi-day experiments foster creative problem-solving and teamwork. Students concept, engineer and build contraptions powered by Sphero and the programs they write as a group.



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Dominic Hoskins

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