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Sphero design thinking challenge

1.5 Hours Per Group
Book Program
Year Levels


This Outreach program reflects the Victorian Digital Curriculum which is a central initiative for STEM teaching in schools. It aims to foster students’ critical and creative thinking skills (such as computational thinking and logical reasoning) as a means to understanding, communicating and solving a problem individually and collaboratively.

Students will work in pairs to design and create their own animal. They will learn to code and manoeuvre Sphero SPRK+ “animals” to demonstrate the animals’ structural and behavioural adaptations and they will evaluate their success using the design thinking process.

Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge is required.

Key Learning Question

How can we design and code a Sphero to behave like an animal so that it is better able to survive in its environment?

Learning Intentions

In this progam students will:

  • Understand the differences between structural & behavioural adaptions
  • Apply their knowledge of animal adaptations to create their own “animal” using Sphero
  • Learn how to code Sphero using block coding


Students will:

  • Design and code their Sphero to look and behave like an animal so that it can survive in its environment
  • Consider various factors such as the type of habitat/ecosystem, needs (food, water, shelter), communication, threats (eg. Predators), and various structural & behavioural adaptations when designing their animal.
  • Plan a path for their Sphero animal, and consider colours (camouflage), sounds, co-ordinates, angles and bearings, fractions and percentages in order for it to move from one point to the next so that their “animal” will survive in its environment.
  • Work with a partner, discovering the capabilities of their Sphero animal, coding its planned path, and evaluating the adaptations (performance) of their animal in surviving in its environment.

Victorian Curriculum

Science - Biological sciences

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)

Science - Planning and conducting

  • With guidance, plan appropriate investigation types to answer questions or solve problems and use equipment, technologies and materials safely, identifying potential risks (VCSIS083)
  • Decide which variables should be changed, measured and controlled in fair tests and accurately observe, measure and record data (VCSIS084)
  • Science - Analysing and evaluating

  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (VCSIS086)
  • Suggest improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a problem (VCSIS087)
  • Science - Communicating

  • Communicate ideas and processes using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and to identify simple cause-and-effect relationships (VCSIS088)

Design and Technologies - Technologies Contexts: Engineering principles and systems

  • Investigate how forces or electrical energy can control movement, sound or light in a designed product or system (VCDSTC034)

Digital Technologies - Creating Digital Solutions

  • Design, modify and follow simple algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration (VCDTCD032)
  • Develop digital solutions as simple visual programs (VCDTCD033)

Learning Continuum

The following Learning Continuum is a guide for teachers to show the links between the programs Ecolinc offers onsite, online and through outreach. The Learning Continuum can be used to access Ecolinc resources to support the development of units of work.

Ecolinc Learn Online is an online learning management system offering interactive online courses for students and teachers. These courses can be undertaken either as a pre-visit, post-visit or stand-alone. Students are encouraged to do the pre-learning course before coming to Ecolinc for an onsite program.

Outreach programs are conducted by an Ecolinc education officer at your school. They are available to moderately disadvantaged primary schools in the Geelong, Ballarat and western suburbs areas (or within 100km radius from Bacchus Marsh)

Learn Online Pre-program:

Spotlight on survival


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