Another Brick in the Wall
There’s a new resource coming soon for any teacher interested in STEM activities! Lego are introducing a new product, Lego Education Spike Prime to their already impressive education offerings. Each 523 piece kit includes, bricks, sensors, motors and a multi-port Hub that is programmable using a Spike app; this app is based on the very familiar Scratch coding tool. Spike Prime is aimed at 11 – 14 year old pupils, 5th, 6th at Primary level and 1st year Post Primary. Like many of the Lego products, it isn’t cheap and initial indications are that it will retail at $330 when it becomes available in August.
Currently there is a set of 9 lesson plans available online from the Lego resources pages. This particular one is a beginner project, ‘Pass The Brick’; however, like the rest of these resources, it appears incomplete at the moment as the ‘Coding Tips’ sections have no content.
There’s a colourful ‘Fact’s Sheet’ available that could be used to promote an interest in this STEM resource within the school or to accompany a purchase request to a Board of Management!
Unfortunately the actual Spike Prime coding app doesn’t appear to be available just yet. However, looking at the promo videos for Spike Prime, the app is very “Scratch”-like with familiar drag and drop coding blocks.
I think that Spike Prime would be a very useful resource to have in a school, especially in light of the ongoing emphasis on STEM at both Primary and Post-Primary level. There’s a certain amount of confusion in schools as to what exactly STEM is however The Department of Education and Skills have provided clarity and guidance on STEM in schools in Ireland within the framework of three key principles.
Principle 1: STEM is about igniting learners’ curiosity so they participate in solving real world problems and make informed career choices.
Principle 2: STEM is interdisciplinary, enabling learners to build and apply knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop creative and critical thinking skills within authentic contexts.
Principle 3: STEM education embodies creativity, art and design.
I think that any teacher who decides to introduce this particular Lego product can justify its use in their classroom in light of these 3 principles.