This challenge is meant for Sphero Robots, but I bet It can be scaled up or down for other robots. It includes three different maze types that can be re-arranged to change the path Sphero will have to travel through to constantly challenge students with math and programming tasks.
We were able to print these maze blocks at Camp Sachem's Summer Enrichment Program this summer using a Makerbot Replicator that we had on loan as part of a Federal Grant.
The size of these puzzle pieces allow them to easily store in a small flip top Sterilite container with the ability to stack 10 to 12 in a box. This is a necessity since our mentoring program will have to pack up onto a cart in order for us to be able to bring the robots and mazes from school to school. They are also able to be printed with any 6x6 or larger printer very easily and fairly quickly with low resolution. I recommend using masking tape on the backside of the seams to secure them together but I may try adhesive velcro and a 20"x20" coroplast or masonite board in the future so that younger students can arrange the mazes by themselves.
Need a way to get young students excited about programming?
Use these maze blocks along with your Sphero robot and Lightning Lab in order to get program sphero through the maze!
Students will be able to problem solve through programming Sphero's speed, direction, time and distance in order to program Sphero through many different maze combinations.
This activity is intended for grades 2-8. My hope is that I can start up a mentoring program where high school students can teach programming skills to younger age students under a teachers supervision to deliver meaningful learning to all age groups.
Math, Science, Behavioral Science, Robotics, Linguistics, Technology
NYS MST Technology Standard 5.3: use a computer system to monitor and control external
events and/or systems.
Groups of 2-3 students will be able to use a Sphero Robot and a paired Tablet with the Lightning Lab app in order to write a program to get Sphero through the maze.
Start with one maze block and have the students write out what steps Sphero would have to take to get through it.
Discuss the variable such as direction/Heading (how does Sphero sense his direction? What does Heading mean?) speed (Why is the speed range 0-255?) and delay (How long should Sphero move before he gets to the next step?)
After the students master one Maze Puzzle Block you can add more and see how many blocks they can get through.
Alternate assignments can be used such as how fast can you get sphero through a specific maze, sensing collisions, and changing colors based on the maze block sphero is on.
Advances students can also create blocks of code based on the color of maze blocks and develop faster ways to program through any configuration of maze blocks!
A basic Sphero maze programming challenge where the students can try to work up to programming through as many attached maze blocks as possible could be as little as 40 minutes, which is great if you want to travel to many schools. Our school district has 3 middle schools and almost a dozen elementary schools, so for the first year we would focus on just one lesson reaching out to as many students as we can to get them excited about programming.
Later lessons may include blocking code together and also racing through maze designs if time allows which would extend the duration to three 40 minute sessions.
In order to complete this activity you will need multiple printed maze puzzle blocks and a Sphero robot and paired bluetooth capable tablet per group. I recommend finding a comfortable carpeted or padded floor to work on to reduce wear and tear on the robots, tablets and maze blocks.
SPRK Lightning Lab Activity for Sphero Maze Puzzles PDF located in thing files