One of the coolest parts about my job at Pitsco is that I get to play with all of our products. OK, you’re right, around here we call it professional development. As a customer support specialist, I have to know how our products work so I can help customers with their questions. However, with as much fun as I have with our products, it might as well be recess for me. One product that I’ve gotten to know well over the last year is the Fable Spin Module by Shape Robotics. In this blog, I’m going to cover my top five favorite things about the Fable Spin.
- Built in Seconds
The Fable robots are built using a modular construction system. There are magnets inside each module piece that holds them together. They come together with a satisfying click. With the Fable Play! Set, you can pop the wheels and castor set on and get programming in minutes. You can also combine the spin module with other Fable kits such as the Fable Hello Set. For many students – and the kid in me – getting right to the part where the robot is zooming around the room is very engaging.
- Fable Blockly App
The Fable Blockly App is used to program the Fable robot and the Fable Spin Module. It defaults to a graphical interface, also called block-based coding. The application has simple and advanced modes in the block-based coding interface that helps extend the life of this product across grade levels. Younger learners can start in the simple mode using more basic commands such as “move forward.” In the advanced mode, the movements and commands get more complex and precise. The simple and advanced modes can be used together in the same project. The ability to use both modes allowed me to build on my beginner’s knowledge in simple mode and then select certain parts of the project to use the advanced mode.
The app also allows you to code in Python® with the click of a button. Now, I can’t code in Python, but I found myself always glancing at the Output Console. While coding in the block-based coding, you can see it translated into Python on the Output Console on the right-hand side of the screen. This helps students become familiar with Python before even using it.
The Fable Blockly App is supported on the following operating systems: Windows 8 and 10, macOS (previously Mac OS X) starting with Mac OS X10.10 Yosemite, and iOS for iPad.
- Multiple Sensors
The Fable Spin Module comes with light sensors, color sensors, proximity sensors, and infrared (IR) sensors. The light sensors allow the spin module to detect the intensity of light, which could be used to detect the time of day, room lights, or directed light. The color sensors can detect colors up to three centimeters away. The spin module measures color on an RGB scale. Check out this video below to see Fable’s Spin Module color sensors at work.
Proximity sensors can be used to detect other objects or obstacles. IR sensors allow the spin modules to send messages to each other. One module can be told to wait for the message, and receiving the message can trigger another action within the coding.
- Incorporate Sounds into any Build
One of my favorite things to do is to make my robots make sounds. If I can record my own sounds and save them to a file, watch out – I’m having too much fun! In the Fable Blockly App, you can program your robot to speak text that you have written, play a set of provided sounds, play a sound file, or play notes. With the ability to add sounds, learners’ imaginations can go wild. Check out this video to see the Fable Spin Module speaking text.
- Teaching Material and Video Inspiration
Shaperobotics.com is a treasure trove of resources. There are lesson plans for activities with the Fable Spin Module such as using a remote-controlled robot, working with the sensors, and even a math and physics lesson for high schoolers. Each lesson plan is broken down step-by-step to be shared directly with students. I also love checking out the Video Inspiration galleries. Shaperobotics.com is the first thing I recommend to teachers who are new to Fable products.
You might have noticed some of my favorites don’t just apply to the Fable Spin Module but also to the Fable Robot system in general. One of the great benefits of this system is that Fable Spin and Fable Robot components can easily be combined. Without a lot of time spent on construction, students can focus on expanding their coding knowledge. I recommend checking out the Fable Makerspace+ Set to add this modular robotics set to your classroom.