2022 Grants Challenge

Sphero Program for K-12 STEAM

Idea by PureGame

PureGame’s Sphero Program introduces students to soccer and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through hands-on, soccer-based coding and math games. This program gets kids excited about STEM activities by introducing it in a low-intensity, fun environment, centered around one of their favorite sports.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

East LA

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

PureGame serves a population of students who have the potential to be our community’s future champions, leaders, and change-makers; however, due to circumstances beyond their control, they need additional support to reach their full and limitless potential. STEM programming is an exceptional way to help students achieve academic success, ultimately setting themselves up for improved career and economic outcomes after graduation from high school. In fact, data has shown that STEM encourages critical thinking, makes other subjects in school more exciting, promotes an entrepreneurial spirit, and paves a way for future economic stability (Science Explorers, 2021). Additionally, when coupled with physical activity, sports, and social-emotional learning principles, STEM is less intimidating and students feel higher levels of excitement around STEM concepts (Underwood, 2021). On average, those who enter STEM fields make 26% more than their non-STEM peers (WPU, Accessed 6/12/22).

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The Sphero Program combines soccer with STEM-based activities to help underserved youth gain coding and math skills which will propel them towards a successful future. As part of this program, they will have the opportunity to learn and practice 21st century skills that are becoming critical to school and workplace success. The Sphero Program utilizes the Sphero Edu app platform which uses app-enabled robots to foster creativity through discovery and play, all while laying the foundation for computer science. The program goes beyond code with collaborative STEAM activities, nurturing students’ imaginations in ways no other education program can. Students participating in the program receive: 20+ fun soccer activities on the Sphero Edu app Guidance through three learning levels: Academy, First Team Training, and Match Day Passing, dribbling, and shooting activities Fun activities that are aligned with computer science fundamentals Instruction around reading and understanding sports data Beginner-level instruction with no experience necessary Time for creativity and invention through free-play on the Sphero Edu app Because many of these students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they are not likely to receive similar services elsewhere, especially for no cost to their family. Ultimately, their participation in PureGame’s Sphero Program will lead to a more equitable chance at the student creating their own pathways to success.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

PureGame’s helps youth realize their potential, contribute to the community as young leaders, and confidently make positive choices that reflect their unique strengths and personalities. The Sphero Program is designed to take our community’s young leaders and provide them with the STEM skill building resources they need to change the trajectory of their lives. Afterschool programs can support social, emotional, and academic development, reduce risky behaviors, and provide a safe and supportive environment for children. These programs also provide a significant ROI, with every $1 invested saving at least $3 through increasing youth’s earning potential, improving their performance at school, and reducing crime (Youth.gov). Not only will LA see a decline in youth delinquency, but we will see a generation of young people become more excited about school and show understanding and skills in basic concepts which can be built upon as a student works toward a STEM-based career.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

To ensure consistency between PureGame’s programs, all outcomes are tracked based on social-emotional learning and positive youth development outcomes. These include: 75% of students will report an increase their ability to make good life choices 75% of students will report an increase in positive sense of self 70% of students will attend for the entire duration of the program

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 200