Controll and Modelling
Control and Modelling:
At Adswood Primary School we use Control and Modelling to teach children how
to program objects to produce an outcome. This might be to move a robot across the
screen, or to control inputs and outputs on a device. We feel that it is important to be
able to understand that devices need to be programmed before they can work. We
also believe that children should be able to create their own games through the use of
apps such as Pixel Floor Press, Hopscotch, Tynker, Scratch and Scratch Jr. Here
children edit blocks of code to change elements of their game as required.
Part of the Key Stage 2 Computing Curriculum looks at controlling physical systems.
There are a range of physical devices including Makey Makey and Sphero that allow
pupils to control aspects of a computer using physical inputs and outputs.
Spheros are possibly the most complete single solution to computer science sections
of the primary school computing curriculum. Sphero includes some very simple, free
apps for iPad that introduce much of the coding curriculum in the early years. This
page will look at the MacroLab app.
Using an iPad to control physical systems.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
* Use the Sphero as a character in your own fiction writing.
* Write a story from the point of view of the droid.
* Create a poster to advertise the droid to others.
* Write a set of instructions (or a 'How to...' guide) to teach others how to use the
* Use the Sphero to review compass directions by making it move north, south, east
* Create a large co-ordinates grid on the floor and move the Sphero to specific
locations on the grid, as directed by the teacher.
* Carry out some 'races' and record how long it takes Sphero to travel a certain
distance. Use the results for data handling / statistics activities.
* Discuss how the BB-8's 'head' stays attached to the base. This could be used as the
starting point for work on magnetism.
* Use the Sphero for control technology activities. Can you guide it safely from one
location to another? Could you use to knock over some skittles in different locations
around the classroom?
* Discuss how the Sphero works.
* What features does it have?
* How does it move?
* What functions does the app perform?
* How does the app communicate with the droid?
* Plan and record a video (or audio) advert to persuade others to buy a Sphero
* Explore the site and use this as the starting point for other discussions about robots
and their construction.
* Discuss how robots help us today and how they may improve in the future.
* Design and create a maze that the Sphero can travel around. This could be created
using building blocks, Lego bricks or other construction materials.
* Create an 'assault course' for the Sphero to explore!
* Design a shelter to protect the droid from the elements on other planets.
* Think about how the Sphero could be improved and design a new version. What
additional features could it have?
* Create a life-size model of a droid.
We also use the MaKey MaKey Invention Kit to test input materials, create circuits,
design game pads, make music and most importantly have loads of FUN!!
- MaKey MaKey is an invention kit that turns everyday objects into input devices
- The board operates common keyboard and mouse input functions
- Make interesting and interactive displays, toys, games and entertainment devices
using conductive objects
- Works on many different operating systems like Windows, Linux or Macs
- Its development board designed using a microcontroller that interacts with the
MAKey MAKey embed video