LEGO is not just a company that makes cool toys (though that's done in spades). The company also has a training branch that brings LEGOs into the classroom. The latest version is designed so that children can learn more than just brick engineering. SPIKE Prime offers lessons in coding, practice-oriented building and above all trust.
SPIKE Prime is designed for middle-school grades, featuring LEGO bricks, a programmable hub that can control sensors and motors, and an app where children can learn to encode the functions performed by their LEGO creation. The app, which uses the block-based scratch coding language, provides a variety of lesson plans for teachers, each completed within 45 minutes.
The LEGO creations themselves are relatively easy to put together ̵
One of the primary goals of SPIKE Prime is not just to teach children STEAM skills (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). They should also help them build trust in these areas by teaching them how to solve problems, prototype and experiment. According to a LEGO-commissioned survey of more than 5,000 students, 5,000 parents and 1,150 teachers in 5 countries, less than 1 in 5 students feel "very confident" about their STEAM capabilities. Half of the students surveyed said they were trying new things at school, making them nervous. "With SPIKE Prime and the lessons included in the SPIKE app, these kids are encouraged to experiment with different solutions, try new things, and ultimately learn to be more confident," said LEGO Education President Esben Stærk Jørgensen in a press release.
SPIKE Prime comes with 523 parts, most of which build on the beams and gears of the more advanced LEGO Technic line. However, some pieces are completely new LEGO elements that combine some of the features of Technic pieces with regular LEGO bricks, such as traditional rectangular building blocks that also work with Technic axes.
LEGO plans to work with local teachers to develop the SPIKE Prime system around the world in 17 different languages. The company also plans to release a version that uses Python, a more practical programming language for real-life programming than Scratch. In the future, the company will add new functionalities and curricula to expand SPIKE Prime's offer, allowing teachers to bring new lessons to their classrooms.
SPIKE Prime will be released in August, but it can now be pre-ordered on the LEGO Education website. Kits start at $ 329.95, with additional items sold separately.