How to Use a Sphero Mini Sensor Board for First Year Physics Labs

Good afternoon John,
My name is Patrick Turner and I am the physics teacher and robotics coach at Avon Old Farms in Avon, Connecticut. Our Engineering Program coordinator and I received your email about the Sphero kits and immediately started coming up with different ways that it can be used, especially for our advanced students. Students here can develop AIP’s (Advanced Independent Projects) that allow them to delve deeply into areas of their own interest, often bringing in new technology and teach the faculty new things. Right now, we have a student working on Arduinos to collect much of the same style data using model rockets. Thank you for the offer of the kit. Please let me know what I need to do to help facilitate the process.

Be well,
Patrick Turner
Avon Old Farms School
Avon CT

1 Like

Hi Patrick,
Outstanding! Just yesterday I added the bullet in the letter about the potential for using these for independent study projects–thanks for the confirmation. Re: the Arduino rocket data, as noted in my comment above to Alan at Dartmouth, the Sphero board at present has very slow sampling rates, so that is a serious limitation for the time-being. I want to convince Sphero that there is a new product line for them here–in that case the sampling speed can be greatly increased.

Welcome to the group. I’ll ship your Lab Kit early next week.

John

1 Like

Good Morning!

Thank you for reaching out about these Sphero Kits. I am a teacher at Marianapolis Prep School in Thompson, CT teaching conceptual physics, biology, and environmental science. These mini sensors sound very cool! In my freshman conceptual physics class we have been working to integrate more hands on data collection labs and activities followed by analysis and calculations. I believe this could be another great tool we can use! I do believe the coding component will be beyond the abilities of my freshmen, so is it possible to collect data and not have to go through the coding to still gain raw data that my students can then analyze?

I would love to be able to use these kits in my classroom. Please let me know if there is anything else I would need to do. Thank you again!

Kelly McLane

1 Like

Good morning Kelly!
Thanks for your interest and the detailed description of your applications. There is actually NO formal “coding” required in the sense of needing to write C++ or some other platform code. One of the virtues of the Sphero EDU app (whether mobile or PC version) is its user-friendliness in plotting the raw sensor data, and also exporting to Excel as a CSV file. At most, the student needs to manipulate, analyze and plot the data in an Excel spreadsheet. As soon as I can free up some time I’m going to post “canned” Excel spreadsheets that are user ready.

1 Like

Hello Prof. Conrad!

I teach physics at Stuyvesant high School and often help students with their engineering research projects. Stuyvesant High School is one of the magnet schools. It offers an array of elective to help students gain knowledge and experience in science, technology, computer science, and engineering.
In the past, my students developed a small aquaponic system with artificial lights and monitored oxygen, carbon dioxide, ammonia levels over the computer. Other teams developed virtual Mars and Moon habitats, included multiple levels of redundancy, and modeled some of the parts.

1 Like

Dear Ulugbek,
Welcome to the community. Stuyvesant High School’s reputation as one of the country’s premier public high schools is well-deserved. I look forward to seeing what you and your students do with the Sphero system. I will be sending your Lab Kit out early next week.
John

1 Like

Dr. Conrad,

We would love to have Sphero Mini Sensor Board Lab Kit. I am teaching Computational Physics at the Governor’s School for Science and Technology, Hampton. Here, we also have Innovation Lab where students build their ideas. We would love to have your Lab Kits shipped to:

Governor’s School for Sci and Tech
520 Butler Farm Rd. Hampton, VA 23666

Best,
Bedir

1 Like

Dear Bedir,
Thanks for your interest, and welcome to the community. I will ship your lab kit this afternoon.

John

1 Like

Very excited to see the kit of materials and think about how to use this for our physics teaching labs, as well as the schools we work with with the Little Shop of Physics!

1 Like

Good Morning Brian–your Lab Kit will arrive on Monday. Welcome to the community!

“physicsjones” here is Brian Jones, who is the Director of the fabulous award-winning Little Shop of Physics in the Physics Department at Colorado State University. Take a look at the video About The Little Shop for a quick introduction.

The Sphero Mini Sensor Board project was borne of a need during the Covid-19 pandemic for safe labs at the college level. The extension to high school level labs is obvious. Less obvious is the possibility that there may also be applications (maybe more qualitative than quantitative?) for pre-high school level students. It will be interesting to see what emerges from Brian Jones and his colleagues at the Little Shop of Physics, and from Joe Blizzard and his colleagues at Roper Mountain Science Center.

1 Like

John,

Please send one of the kits that are available to:
Dale Stille
30 N. Dubuque St.
Rm 58 Van Allen Hall
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Univ. of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242
319-335-1833
dale-stille@uiowa.edu

We have been using a commercially available lab kit for online/take home labs but it is limited as to what can be done with it. We are currently gathering ideas and input for expanded online labs that we can do and this is something that is of interest to us.
Thanks,
Dale Stille
Univ. of Iowa

1 Like

Dale, thanks for your interest; I will be delighted to ship a Lab Kit to you. With respect to your comment about the commercially available lab kit, please note my response above to a similar comment by Alan Goldblatt at Dartmouth. The sampling rate of the sensor board is painfully slow at present. That can be remedied, but to do that, I first need to convince Sphero that there is a potential new product line for them.

Welcome to the community!

John

1 Like

Hi John,

Thanks for reaching out to SCGSSM! We are definitely interested in the mini sensors kit and think there are a variety of ways that we may be able to incorporate them into introductory physics courses here. Our mailing address is:

ATTN: Dr. Reginald Bain
South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics
401 Railroad Ave
Hartsville, SC 29550

Let me know if there is any additional information you need and thank you again for thinking of us!

Reggie Bain
rbain@governors.school

1 Like

Hi Reggie,
Thanks. and welcome to the community! With luck, I should be able to take your lab kit to the post office this afternoon. I look forward to seeing your results.
John

1 Like

John,
I’m the undergraduate lab director at the Vandrebilt Physics dept. My laboratory education students and I would like to see what we can do with this device.

Forrest Charnock
Vanderbilt Physics and Astronomy
Stevenson Center, Room 6301
1221 Stevenson Ctr Ln
Nashville, TN 37235

1 Like

Forrest,
Thanks for your interest; welcome to the community! Your lab kit is on its way–I will email you the tracking number.
Good luck!
John

1 Like

Hi Professor Conrad,

We look forward to exploring the functionality of the Sphero Mini Sensor Board Lab Kit and appreciate your reaching out. Our school recently opened a state-of-the-art STEM center with robotics/engineering space and a student team working in conjunction with our lead physics teacher, was just accepted to participate in the NASA Techrise Student Challenge. Suffice it to say, we like to tinker!

Best,
Doug Heller
Chair, STEM Department
Ransom Everglades School

1 Like

Hi Doug,
Excellent! Congratulations on the opening of the new STEM center, and special congratulations on being accepted for the NASA Techrise Student Challenge. I am delighted to welcome you to this community of tinkerers! I’ll get you lab kit in the mail this afternoon.
John

1 Like

Hi Dr. Conrad,

We would love to receive a Sphere Mini Sensor Board Lab kit. We are teaching physics to freshmen and I am sure would find useful activities.

Thank you

Volker

1 Like

Yes, we would be very happy to receive a Sphere Mini Sensor Board Lab kit at Suffield Academy, in Suffield, CT

Volker

1 Like