stem education

Bolt: Is Sphero's Latest Robot Worth the Hype?

Bolt: Is Sphero's Latest Robot Worth the Hype?

With the release of BOLT, Sphero has added some cool new features to their traditional robot design, including an animation matrix, light sensor, and BOLT to BOLT robot communication. They have also updated the Sphero Edu app, so robots can also connect to Chrome, Mac and Windows computers. But at $149.99, are these features worth the extra $20 over the popular SPRK+? Read on for an in-depth look at 6 new BOLT features plus 3 awesome STEM activities for your classroom set!

Basics of Sphero Robotics + 3 Awesome Sphero STEM Activities

Basics of Sphero Robotics + 3 Awesome Sphero STEM Activities

Sphero is a robotics company that makes toy robots (you might have seen their BB-8 design), as well as educational robots to make learning fun! In the world of education, they are known best for their SPRK+ robot, which has already captivated classrooms around the world. Now, with the recent release of their newest robot BOLT, Sphero is continuing to showcase their innovative ideas and the educational value of robotics in the classroom. Read on to learn why I love using Sphero in my STEM program along with my favorite STEM Sphero Activities. And in my next post, I will dive even further into using the new BOLT robot!

Not all STEM is Equal: 3 Stages of STEM Education

Not all STEM is Equal: 3 Stages of STEM Education

STEM education is sweeping the nation. From robotics competitions to coding games, school districts are scrambling to provide STEM programs while teachers sift through thousands of Pinterest pins in search of quality activities. As a STEM Director, I am always looking for new curriculum ideas, but my biggest frustration is the wide-range of activities that are labeled "STEM." Building a tower from spaghetti and tape is categorized the same as programming a Lego Mindstorm to navigate a maze. One project takes 10 minutes while the other requires weeks of critical thinking and learning a programming language.  We need further clarification to distinguish these levels in STEM education. To help guide educators and administrators in the implementation of curriculum and development of programs, we propose the following 3 stages of STEM Education. 

5 Tips for STEM Learning with Sphero Robotics

5 Tips for STEM Learning with Sphero Robotics

All my middle school students came back to school this year bragging about their newest Christmas gift - a Sphero robot! Since we have spent the last couple months programming SPRK+ robots in our afterschool Space Club program, I will take this as a positive sign of success! Students love how quickly they can learn to program, never get bored with the endless games and challenges, and have fun showing off their dancing, flashing, spinning robot. Read on for more tips and tricks on teaching with Sphero robots in your classroom or program. 

Back to School STEM!

Back to School STEM!

Back-to-school signs now greet me at every store, but I am still in denial that the lazy day of summers have come to an end! Soon, students will fill the hallways with laughter and shiny new backpacks, and teachers will clutch their coffee mugs and brace for another year! To help ease you into the new school year, Vivify invites you to start the year with some hands-on STEM challenges! 

STEM Family Night Planning Guide

STEM Family Night Planning Guide

STEM Family Nights are awesome! They generate excitement for STEM in your school and community by allowing students, teachers, and families to explore STEM together in a fun way! I planned my first STEM Night this past November, and after a big success, we planned three more! We worked with each middle school campus to create a family night that best fit the school culture, and we were excited to have over 400 participants engaged in activities each night. We got the whole school involved from administrators, teachers, coaches, student organizations, and parents to put on a meaningful night of STEM exploration. Want to plan your own night? Read on to learn how! 

The Importance of Failure

The Importance of Failure

When you hear the word “FAILURE”, what comes to mind? What feelings surface? Failure is something adults face often; for example, in our jobs when we fail to meet a deadline, in our relationships when we fail to act appropriately to situations, and in our homes when we fail to get chores accomplished or items fixed, to name a few. How a person responds to failure, and more importantly, how one goes on to succeed may be based on how he or she is conditioned at a young age.

STEM in Sports

STEM in Sports

The Super Bowl is almost here! While I am planning to consume large amounts of buffalo wings and chips and dip, I am reminded that there is more that goes into this monumental day in America than just good entertainment. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), is present in every aspect of this beloved game. This truth provides a wonderful opportunity to get kids involved in an early love of STEM.

STEM Conferences for Educators

STEM Conferences for Educators

Are you looking for professional development opportunities specific to STEM education? Below is a list of conferences I have attended plus ones that come recommended from colleagues. This list includes both national conferences that change location each year and ones specific to the Texas area.