LEGO Education has released their new LEGO SPIKE Prime Kit. The new product will be appearing in classrooms across the country in an effort to help educators find new and inventive ways to teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math).
To get more information on what parents and students can expect, Parentology spoke with Jon Bishop, a K-12 STEM Coordinator for Canton Public Schools, and Steve Coxon, Ph.D., an associate professor of the School of Education at Maryville University and executive director of the Center of Access and Achievement (CA2). Both gave a sneak peek at the new LEGO Education product.
How It Works
While LEGO SPIKE Prime sets can be purchased by individuals, it’s not set up to be used outside of a traditional classroom or educational environment.
“Aimed at middle school students, SPIKE fits a needed space for busy teachers who want to integrate state standards into robotics lessons,” Coxon explains.
Traditionally, there are a few different ways to incorporate STEAM into the classroom, but Bishop says the LEGO SPIKE Prime kit accomplishes something the other ways don’t.
“As educators, we know STEAM topics are important, but very few schools have dedicated STEAM or robotics classes,” Bishop says. “SPIKE Prime is a product that can fit into a variety of classes — as an English teacher, you can have a student build an interactive character from a book, in a math class there are a variety of lesson plans that help showcase different math concepts in a fun and interactive way.”
It’s this diversity that excites Bishop about bringing SPIKE Prime into the classroom.
Why It Works for Today’s Schools
The SPIKE Prime kit has 32 different lesson plans that allow students to learn in a scalable way, meaning it can be used to create something simple or complex, allowing students to grow with it over time. It can also be added to a lot of existing lesson plans.
“A product like SPIKE Prime also fits into the intersection of traditional classroom learning with technology and engineering thinking,” Bishop says. “We’ll never be able to predict the future, but we can train students today to be future-ready by using products like SPIKE Prime that help them learn how to think critically and learn through doing.”
Coxon agrees. “We know it’s just as important as verbal and mathematical abilities overall, and more important in domains such as engineering and physics,” he says.
Since high spatial ability predicts success in STEAM fields — which are currently in high demand, something expected to continue over the next decade — it’s necessary for schools to start preparing students with these skills. Coxon believes SPIKE Prime kits will help in that endeavor.
Added Benefit for Struggling Students
Another benefit? According to Bishop, SPIKE Prime kits may be able to help students who traditionally find themselves on the fringe of subjects like math and science develop a greater understanding of the concepts.
“Many students who struggle with math and science topics find it hard to learn formulas and theories solely from a textbook,” Bishop notes. “A product like SPIKE Prime allows students to get hands-on and innovate. They can build something that allows them to understand a math, science or engineering concept in a tangible way.”
The new LEGO Education products are scheduled to roll out this week.
LEGO SPIKE Prime Kit — Sources
Jon Bishop, a K-12 STEM Coordinator for Canton Public Schools
Steve Coxon, Ph.D., an associate professor of the School of Education at Maryville University and executive director of the Center for Access and Achievement (CA2)