In 2019, LEGO Education announced the latest product in their range of STEAM Learning technologies: SPIKE Prime.
Today we analyse the current LEGO Education technologies, and how SPIKE Prime appears to strike a perfect balance between style and functionality to become a logical step in the LEGO curriculum.
From the outset, students transitioning from LEGO's WeDo 2.0 designed for children 7-9 to LEGO's EV3 designed for 10+ has normally required a mental and technical leap. There are a few reasons for this.
The WeDo 2.0 system has bright, chalky colours and child-friendly decorations like eyes, flowers and translucent bricks whereas the EV3 system has more aggressively styled 'cyberpunk' designs in a mainly black and red colour scheme. Students can find the creative style change quite a jarring experience when moving on from WeDo 2.0.
The WeDo 2.0 kits predominantly use LEGO System bricks whereas EV3 uses mainly LEGO Technic pieces. The entire engineering style requires a different thought process when advancing from one technology to another.
The WeDo 2.0 coding style emphasises sequencing and general logical processes whereas the EV3 style emphasises precision and accuracy through block 'modes'.
WeDo 2.0 also has a more forgiving troubleshooting experience due to only having 2 ports whereas the EV3 system has a much more challenging troubleshooting experience with 4 input and 4 output ports.
Students advancing from from WeDo 2.0 to EV3 will often need to improve their problem solving skills very quickly in order to keep up.
SPIKE's style and colour palette is more bright and bold compared to the WeDo 2.0 system, making it more welcoming for students who fell in love with the style of WeDo 2.0. Notably, purely decorative elements like eyes and flowers are removed in favour of a fantastic new customisable LED display that will be more popular with kids than the EV3's more functional monochrome text display.
Construction-wise, SPIKE leans more towards the LEGO Technic side of engineering, but it is made simpler by the ample availability of square frames and beams as opposed to the mainly axels, liftarms and extenders of the EV3 kit. One of my favourite new pieces is the pink 3x3 beam which allows for great connection possibilities as well as structural density and support.
Finally, SPIKE has enough space for multiple fixed-cable motors and sensors to encourage more complex experimentation in robotics without the daunting array of connections found in an EV3 robot.
Our classrooms will be receiving the first batch of LEGO SPIKE Prime kits in term 1 2020, and teachers will begin integrating the lessons into our classes soon, starting with Intermediate Coding!
To learn more and book now, visit this page.