What is LEGO® SPIKE™ Prime? A teacher’s guide
When it comes to STEAM lessons, LEGO® Education has got it all covered. There appeared to be a young-teen-sized gap in the offerings LEGO Education made, but now with LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime, LEGO has ticked off the last box.
If you’re familiar with the other LEGO Education ranges, you’ll know that LEGO WeDo caters for children aged 7 to 11, and LEGO MINDSTORMS is designed to take teens from the age of 14 on a coding journey as far as adulthood (and beyond, let’s be honest). And now, SPIKE Prime fills that gap at the beginning of secondary school, or advanced coders in primary school. Now you know who it’s aimed at, let’s dig right in.
What is LEGO SPIKE Prime?
LEGO SPIKE PRIME is a STEAM classroom resources designed to engage students and prepare them for a 21st Century workforce by providing exciting and multi-sensory learning experiences in coding.
What’s the difference between LEGO and LEGO Education?
LEGO Education set out on a mission around 40 years ago to work with teachers and educationalists to provide them with a resource that would help deliver, “playful learning experiences that bring subjects to life in the classroom and make learning fun and impactful.”
It took some time before LEGO Education saw the potential for LEGO in a STEAM setting. First came MINDSTORMS in 1998 – but not as you may recognise MINDSTORMS as it is today. In 2013, the successful MINDSTORMS EV3 was released, and from there LEGO Education has gone from strength to strength, providing educationalists with exciting and effective resources for coding lessons. LEGO Education considers classroom settings and what is needed whereas LEGO aims to please on an individual ‘at home’ basis.
How does LEGO SPIKE PRIME help to teach STEAM?
With stackable bricks, technical elements and advanced coding opportunities, SPIKE™ offers excellent experience in learning critical thinking skills through its easy-to-use hardware. The team at LEGO Education have provided a scheme of work with LEGO SPIKE PRIME sets. These SoW provide challenging and relevant STEAM activities which combine simple LEGO brick and an even simpler drag-and-drop coding language based on Scratch. Pupils are able to use the kit to solve complex problems for every learning level with limitless possibilities for expanding on the curriculum. SPIKE™ is focussed around being the tool to ignite the innovative minds of tomorrow (without taking the fun away!).
What do you get in a SPIKE PRIME set?
At the heart of SPIKE™ Prime is its programmable ‘Hub’. Classic brick-shaped and easy-to-use, it contains 6 input/output ports, 5×5 light matrix, Bluetooth connectivity, a speaker, 6-axis gyro, and a rechargeable battery.
All of this helps to work accurate motors and sensors, coupled with colourful LEGO® elements, which means students spend less time building and more time learning. Storage isn’t forgotten either, with 2 sorting trays and a durable storage container included, for less mess and efficient tidying post-lesson.
How does SPIKE PRIME fit into the curriculum?
Key learning values
- Apply engineering design skills at each step of the design process
- Develop efficient problem-solving and coding skills through decomposition of problems and algorithmic thinking
- Design projects that combine hardware and software components to collect and exchange data
- Work with variables, data arrays and cloud data
- Apply critical thinking and develop life skills for the careers of tomorrow
SPIKE™ is based on the Scratch Coding Platform and supports a range of popular operating system, from iOS, Chrome, Windows 10, Mac, and Android.
Whether younger pupils are getting to grips with the world around them or you’re helping students to discover engineering and STEAM solutions – the projects will always have a level of realism and relevancy to them, ready for young pupils to take the experience out into the real world. You can also get an expansion set too, giving you more range than ever to experience exciting lessons with your class.
How do you plan for lessons with SPIKE PRIME?
Included in the kit are four unit plans of STEAM content focussed entirely around Engineering and Computer Sciences. The plans are designed for highly interactive 45-minute sessions, the content is designed to speed up the pupils’ thought processes and help them to become better problem solvers and critical thinkers.
Interactive lesson plans and a host of interactive supporting materials can be found on the LEGO® Education website, helping to give teachers the confidence to use the kit to its utmost and deliver dynamic and fun activities with clear learning outcomes well into the future.
What do SPIKE PRIME units of learning cover?
The Invention Squad unit focuses on the processes involved in engineering design. What will your students invent today? Students can focus on single steps of the design process:
- Defining a problem
- Making prototypes
Kickstart a Business
Creating passion for entrepreneurship is key and this unit focuses on computational thinking skills for Computer Science. Pupils have great ideas that can appear at any moment, so get ready to transform their thoughts into reality.
Students will in the different lessons focus on exploring key skills:
- Decomposing a problem in smaller parts
- Recognizing patterns and using code snippets in different context
- Creating algorithms
This unit helps students to understand and interpret data and manipulation of that data. Data can become interesting!
Students will in the different lessons focus on exploring key concepts:
- Variables and operations
- Qualitative cloud weather data
- Quantitative cloud weather data
The final unit brings out all of the skills learned and introduces pupils to the world of robotics competitions. With teamwork, students work together to design and build a tested, refined solution-based robot to complete a task.
The skills learnt in this environment can help provide foundations for careers and leadership positions. The complete LEGO® lesson plans provide the materials and expertise needed to deliver engaging sessions.
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