First Activity of the School Year

With school starting soon, I’ve been wondering what is everyone’s favorite first activity of the school year is? I love building a maze and having my students navigate through as they get to know the Sphero Edu app, but what other ideas are out there. Link to activities you’ve created or share them here. Thanks!

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For very young students you could have them use the DRAW function in the app and draw their names. Name and letter recognition are important early in the year.

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Change colors on a Sphero to use it as a meter for emotions (or even knowledge level). Have groups or individuals come up with a a color key. For example, red = frustrated, then teacher calls out items from a list. “How do you feel about fractions/physics/reading fictional stories?” and teams discuss and then decide what color Sphero should be. It would be a fun way to gauge attitudes, emotions or comfort level with content.

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The first days are boring when going over routines, so why not have students do a breakout with Sphero where they discover different parts of the room, decode the class expectations, and create something to hang on the wall. The parts could be a puzzle for the expectations that give a clue to open a lock, the locked box could have the sphero where you need to code it to go to different parts of the room (or drive it for the younger ones, less experienced coders) where they need to complete a task, and then the final project could be art related where they paint with the Sphero? I think it could be fun!

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I love those first days with students and Sphero. I have used painting activities - see Lighting up the Iditarod Trail for a very specific example but mostly it is about driving the Sphero and having fun. I have also used sequential action activities. For example, in forensics, I have students collect evidence, in the proper order without running over other evidence. This allows the students to drive or code depending on where they are at in their learning. This lesson idea can be used for anything that can be collected in order - such as prime numbers from high to low, rhyming words in alphabetical order, … I have put cards on the floor for students to collect as they perform the required actions. And I hear that there is an awesome new Sphero mat coming out soon that will be good for these activities.

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I LOVE letting our early learners (K-2nd graders) use the Drive feature to create Jackson Pollack inspired name tags for their tables/desks. All you do is lay out some white bulletin board paper and some paper plates with tempera paint. You let students dip their robots into the paint and drive the robot across the paper in different colors taking turns with the rest of their group. An added bonus is the different textured covers that you can put on the robots to create an addition level of creativity to the artwork. I then cut the bulletin board paper into small squares and give to students to draw their names with Sharpies in order to create name tags for their tables/desks. This activity promotes collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know your students and their social/emotional levels at the beginning of the year.

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I made varied “reverse magic 8-ball” programs in which the children use Sphero as an ‘ice breaker’ and shake it to receive a “how’s your summer/getting to know you” question and then they answer it. I made one for K-2, 3-5 and then 6-8. It’s really cute and fun and I love the random aspect of getting the questions.

#BackToSchool2019 ice breaker with 4th grade Ss using ⁦⁦@SpheroEdu
⁩ - each time student shakes #sphero it asks a randomly selected question about Summer vacation… This is a great tool for trivia & reviewing before a test… #EdTech #STEM