Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics based education (also known as STEAM) has a problem: kids aren’t buying it. And while a bored student in school is nothing new, STEAM education was supposed to change this. Unfortunately, efforts by teachers and parents to introduce kids to coding and engineering with toolboxes disguised as toys have, so far, failed.
All of this is about to change because LEGO Education just unveiled the Spike Prime kit.
LEGO’s Spike Prime kit, built for children ages 6-8, has a goal-oriented design meant to help kids develop problem-solving skills. It comes complete with a number of guided projects (over 30) as well as opportunities for users to creatively come up with new and unique designs of their own.
Built on the programming language Scratch, Spike Prime’s software component breaks the kit’s operations into color-coded pieces that can be dragged and dropped. The entire system is built with the very STEAM-like ideology that focuses on practical, everyday application. And it does so in a fun and subtle way that appeals to a child’s sensibilities.
All of Spike Prime’s software is written in plain language, easy to understand, and even easier to customize. Kids should be able to complete the kit’s first guided project just a few minutes after it’s out of the box.
In the Classroom
While Spike Prime is available for consumer purchase, LEGO first and foremost designed the kit to be used in a classroom. As such, many of its projects work best with larger groups where kids can collaborate together. In this setting, the design and build elements of projects come to life, eventually allowing kids to assemble and create such things as a robot. Thus, aside from STEAM-based skills, Spike Prime teaches kids about teamwork and communication.
Lesson plans and guides are available for teachers at LEGO’s education website. The kit has, so far, been going over very well with kids and teachers alike. Educators know that teaching students hands-on is far more effective (and valuable) than trying to force-feed them from books.
Class Lessons Become Life Lessons
Often, those who are disruptors and innovators in the technology field speak of their work as being fun. The old cliche that “if you love what you do you never have to go to work,” is basically true. That’s what LEGO is trying to do here.
Spike Prime seeks to bring kids together to collaborate, exchange ideas, and spark curiosity. In other words, it teaches kids that work can be fun. With hands-on learning and building going on before their eyes, possibilities for the future are being opened.
While not every kid will be the next Bill Gates, everyone can have the mental capacity to solve their life’s own unique problems in an intelligent and logical way. And for education, that’s a good place to start.