Programming robots is becoming an everyday occurrence at the Charlottesville Hospital Education Program. Students are using Ozobots and Spheros to learn various math concepts as well as to sharpen coding skills.
Ozobots are golf ball-sized robots that can be programmed using colored markers and paper. Their “eyes”, or sensors, read instructions from the marker lines or code that are drawn onto white sheets of paper. When students are ready for a more advanced programming option they can use Ozoblockly, a block-based programming editor to control the ozobot’s movements.
Sphero, is a tennis ball sized robot that connects to a mobile device via Bluetooth. Students can manually move Sphero by drawing a path or by creating movement instructions with a block based coding program. One HEP student used the Sphero and a number line to reinforce a math lesson involving adding and subtracting negative numbers. Afterwards the student said, “Math is boring but when you add something like [Sphero] it makes it more fun.”
These two robots have provided our students with a simple, exciting, and unique approach to their school work while challenging them to program, problem solve, think logically, and persevere through failure.
Charlottesville Hospital Education Program
University of Virginia Children’s Hospital