Creative Classroom Activities with Sphero Blueprint!

by The STEAM Team

17 April 2024

Sphero Blueprint is a modular system of easy-to-handle mechanical engineering parts to teach middle and high school students diverse, scalable, and creative engineering and robotics concepts.

Blueprint classroom units each consists of three types of lessons.

Level One - Foundation

  • designed for one class period
  • introduction to an engineering concept
  • quick builds with instructions

Level Two - Exploration

  • designed for one to two class periods
  • in-depth exploration of engineering concepts
  • open-ended builds with some support to get started
  • content connections to historical engineering, emerging tech, and career connections

Level Three - Creation

  • designed for up to one week of class time
  • open-ended building using the engineering design process
  • connections between multiple engineering concepts to serve as an end-of-unit project

These can be completed in any order you'd like.

In this blog we will focus on 3 lessons within the Simple Machines Unit Plan that takes us through the 3 lesson types. Aimed at exploring wheels and axles, inclined planes, levers, pulleys, screws, gears, and linkages—form the foundation of a mechanical engineer’s toolkit.

Introducing the Inclined Plane - Level 1 (Foundation)

In this lesson, students will build inclined planes to explore their mechanical advantages and uses in the world around them. This lesson takes roughly 45-60 minutes.

Learning Objectives:
Construct an inclined plane with their Blueprint parts
Calculate the ideal mechanical advantage (IMA) of inclined planes
Modify their inclined planes to meet certain conditions.

*Click here to download the teacher guide*

Inclined Planes and the Egyptian Pyramids - Level 2 (Exploration)

In this lesson, students will review two theories that Egyptologists have about how the ancient Egyptians used inclined planes to construct pyramids. They will then construct a model of the pyramid with their Blueprint kit and form their own opinions about how the ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid. This lesson takes roughly 60-90 minutes.

Learning Objectives:
Model inclined planes that could have been used to build a pyramid with Blueprint parts.
Form and support their own opinions about how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids.
Calculate the ideal mechanical advantage and actual mechanical advantage of the inclined planes theorised to have been used to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Animal Motion Profiles - Level 3 (Creation)

In this final lesson of the simple machine unit, students will use Blueprint to create an animal motion profile, or a representation of how a living organism moves and make it come to life in the classroom. This lesson takes roughly 2-5 hours.

Learning Objectives:
Identify individual simple machines in a larger, complex machine
Build a complex machine with Blueprint that models an animal or organism motion profile
Use the engineering design process to iterate and refine their models

We hope this gives you an idea of just how beneficial and creative lessons can be with Sphero Blueprint. Offering fresh ways to explore engineering, science but also to link in other subject areas and topics.

What to know more? speak to our STEAM Team now.