As well as marking the 40th anniversary of LEGO Education’s introduction to the world, the brick purveyor’s presence at Bett this year saw the first big public push for its SPIKE Prime Set – a STEAM learning tool aimed at upper KS2 and lower KS3. (Don’t get too excited – shown above is a super-scale model of a Spike Prime construction at LEGO Education’s stand for promo purposes; the actual set contains around 500 pieces).
Based around a central coding block, the set includes standard LEGO and Technic elements for building different structures with accompanying lessons and software. Once a model has been assembled using the set, pupils can use Scratch to carry out the coding required by a given project. What makes those projects particularly interesting is their holistic take on STEM teaching. Rather than focusing on specific elements of STEAM in isolation – be it wheels, motors, load-bearing and so forth – they’re very much conceived with both cross-curricular learning and problem-solving in mind. The included building and coding instructions notably include deliberate errors, requiring pupils to actively collaborate on diagnosing the relevant issues and come up with effective solutions.
In one example, pupils follow instructions to build a model, then plot a ‘delivery route’ in code that contains a hidden mistake. The pupils are thus called upon to question what they’ve been tasked with doing, pull apart the code and troubleshoot the issue. It’s a novel approach, and one that would seem to have potential for teaching the problem solving, team working and critical thinking skills that employers have been calling for. Further details regarding Spike Prime and the LEGO Education product range can be found at education.lego.com