Making hybrid learning fun and engaging for your students can sometimes feel like pulling a cat out of a hat, especially if you’ve created multi-medium lesson plans for many years. While some educators are adapting to hybrid learning in creative ways, others struggle to solve the lack of student engagement hybrid learning may cause. Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy way to add some excitement into your in-person and virtual classroom: Wacky Wednesday.
Wacky Wednesday is normally celebrated at schools the first week of March. During this out-of-the-box event, your students’ midweek lull is transformed into a creative extravaganza filled with wacky, educational experiences fit for all types of learners.
But Wacky Wednesday doesn’t have to be just a March holiday. By adding this whimsical wingding into your weekly routine, you can ensure your in-person and remote students are eager to attend class and excited to learn about STEAM.
Try These Wacky Wednesday Ideas and Activities in Your Classroom
Adding Wacky Wednesday into your hybrid learning lesson plan doesn’t mean throwing education to the wind. It’s about getting students out of their normal, sedentary routines to create meaningful learning experiences that are far from average. With these 14 STEAM-based Wacky Wednesday ideas, you’ll be able to remix your hybrid learning lesson plan and create memorable experiences for weeks to come.
1. Stretchy Slime Chemistry
With just a few simple ingredients, your students can create stretchy slime. From following specific measurements to learning about chemical reactions and non-Newtonian fluids, slime is a great way to engage and captivate students both in person and virtually.
2. Mind Control
Using two Sphero BOLTs, your students can learn about the power of coding mind control with simple block programs that highlight the BOLT’s infrared technology. In this activity, your class will utilize Sphero Edu to turn one BOLT into an infrared-powered remote control and the other into a robot that will obey its every command. This is a great activity for in-person classroom visits!
3. Galileo’s Game
In the 1500s, Galileo determined that all objects on Earth, no matter their size, fall at the same speed. In this hybrid learning activity, your students will discover the power of our planet’s gravitational pull while dropping a tennis ball and golf ball onto an audible surface.
4. Maze Mayhem
Using masking tape, everyday objects, and open floor space, this activity allows your students to create their very own wacky maze and program Sphero to navigate through it successfully. After students have gone through the maze to find the best route through, they’ll create a program using block-based coding and the Blocks canvas in the Sphero Edu app that will instruct their Sphero robot to complete the maze.
Here’s an expert tip: If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to pick up your own Sphero robot with the Sphero Mini At-Home Learning Kit!
5. Matching Math
Math exercises don’t always require students to sit down, and this activity proves it. With a few post-it notes, tape, poster paper, and a marker, your students can physically match numbers on post-its to corresponding dots on the poster paper. This process helps with number retention and gets your class up and moving.
6. Spheroraptor Escape
From corralling the Spheroraptors to letting them escape, this activity in Sphero Edu teaches your students all sorts of coding knowhow — including using loops, conditionals, operators, and comparators. Using objects around the classroom or at home, your students will write a code that keeps the Sphero BOLT contained within a pen, as well as develop a code that tells their dino-robot to escape as fast as possible.
7. Balancing Act
Comparing objects by size or quantity is easy with this hybrid learning activity. With a couple of common household items including a plastic hanger, paper or plastic cups, and some string, your students can discover the weight and density of various objects.
Try this out: One way to really get your students’ minds working is to ask them to identify how many small objects equal the weight of a larger object.
8. Bridge Challenge
In this Sphero Edu activity, your students will build a bridge using common classroom or household supplies — including tape, string, glue, popsicle sticks, and more — and program Sphero BOLT or Mini to drive across it. Not only does this activity provide coding basics that are fun and engaging, but you can also incorporate research on different types of bridges used in the real world.
9. Eggcellent Egg Drop
A STEAM activity classic, the egg drop challenge gives your students the chance to devise a contraption that will protect the egg from a large fall. This activity can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be, and students can use common materials like string, balloons, paper towel rolls, tape, and more.
10. Sensing Light
Using flashlights or other portable light sources (cell phones work well), this activity allows your students to discover BOLT’s ambient light sensor. This light sensor allows BOLT to sense the amount of light it is exposed to during a program, which means light can act as a trigger for conditionals or dynamic functions.
11. Left Brain or Right Brain
In this activity, students can have a whole lot of fun finding out if they are left-brained or right-brained. With paper, a writing utensil, a penny, a paper towel tube, and a seashell or phone, your class can find out if they have a sidedness (i.e. whether they prefer to do activities on one side of their bodies).
12. Robot Realization
Incorporating both art and technology, this Sphero Edu activity allows your students to draw shapes that represent code and execute that code using Sphero robots. Your hybrid learners are tasked with designing a unique robot made of shapes and programming their Sphero robot to draw it using the Draw canvas.
13. The Leaning Tower of Marshmallows
What’s better than problem-solving while eating a few tasty treats? With this activity, your students can build towers out of marshmallows and toothpicks as high as they can. When certain areas become unstable, they’ll have to flex their critical-thinking muscles to discover how to stabilize the structure. To go one step further, your students can blueprint their towers before they create them.
14. Animal Imitation
Allow your students to become ethologists and technologists in the classroom or at home! With this hands-on activity, your class will study the movements of their favorite animal and program RVR to mimic how this animal navigates in the wild.
Go further with this tip: Your students will also be able to utilize littleBits inventions to mimic this animal’s behavior.
Even More Wacky Wednesday Ideas for the Whole Family
Here are seven more Wacky Wednesday activities that are fun for the whole family.
- Build and test a parachute out of materials around the house. Who’s design will work best?
Make a DIY bouncy ball from stuff around the house. Combine glue, borax, and cornstarch, and watch the magic happen!
Bonus: See which ball bounces the highest.
- Play a game of Hot Potato… of Doom! Sound intense? It is. This version puts a hot new spin on the classic game.
- Challenge siblings and/or parents to go head-to-head in a game or match and use a Sphero Scorekeeper to track who wins!
- Simon Says, play a game of Simon Says! And once you master that version, kick it up a notch with randomized Simon Says 2.
- Paint with robots. Dip ‘em, code ‘em, and roll ‘em on paper. Voila!
- Have a backyard Egg and Spoon Race. Remember this timeless field day activity? Now you can do it at home, mess-free!
Check out even more family STEM Activities that you can try today!
Oh, the Places Your Students Will Go With Wacky Wednesday!
No matter how many hybrid learning lesson plans you’ve created, Wacky Wednesday allows you to add fun, engaging, STEAM-based activities into your students’ regular routine. And, as the activities above include hands-on learning and our remarkably cool programmable robots, your students will be on the edge of their seats to attend your class each week.
To learn more about how to use Sphero products in a socially-distanced classroom, you can download our guide to distanced learning.