10 Things You Need to Know About the LEGO Education SPIKE Essential Set (Singapore Edition)
Robotics and programming is no longer reserved for the engineers. Everyone should know the basics of programming and the computational thinking skills that come with it.
The world is moving fast - it's time to inspire more of our children to be creators and problem-solvers of the future!
We have prepared a list of 10 things you should know about the all-new LEGO Education SPIKE Essential Set that was released in August this year!
But before that, let's check out what the set is all about...
About The Set
LEGO Education SPIKE Essential is a cross-curricular STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) solution for primary schools.
In addition to helping students develop literacy, math, and social-emotional skills, SPIKE Essential incorporates STEAM concepts into hands-on experiments that educators can conduct from the free lesson plans available online.
You can check out the sets in use and in action in classes in the video down below!
You can visit our webstore listing to find out more about the set and the parts it contains here.
In The Post-Pandemic Singapore Context
In Singapore, most schools aim to prepare their students to be equipped with 21st Century Skills through STEAM-based lessons that will allow them to solve future challenges and be contributing citizens of the world.
In order to do so, students need to be trained on using certain tools and developing skills that allow them to use said tools.
At the same time, students need to be exposed to real-world challenges in order to gain experience in applying what they've learnt.
Train using Modern Tools
Develop Critical Soft & Hard Skills
Exposure to Real-World Challenges
Problem is, with the limited class time and ever-changing safety measures, using an inefficient hands-on teaching tool can cost precious time and affect how effective a STEAM Lesson can be.
The SPIKE Essential is part of the LEGO Learning System, a series of sets that allow for a smooth, progressive and comprehensive STEAM learning experience from age 4 to 16.
The LEGO Learning System:
- BricQ Motion Essential (or the Interactions & Energy 2.0 Set)
- BricQ Motion Prime (or the Forces & Energy Set)
- SPIKE Essential
- SPIKE Prime
What this means for schools is that students will be able to focus on the problems they are solving, rather than the tools they have to learn from scratch whenever lower level sets outgrows their abilities.
Now that you know why the system is valuable to STEAM Educators, let's zoom in on the details of what makes the LEGO Education SPIKE Essential itself such an effective STEAM Learning asset for primary school students.
1. Codes like WeDo 2.0, runs like SPIKE Prime
If you are familiar with the soon-to-be retired LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 set, then you will know that it was a great set to introduce icon-based block programming to children aged 5 - 10 years old.
Students could effectively learn how to code before learning how to read (and count).
On the other hand, the LEGO Education SPIKE Prime was catered to students aged 7 to 16 years old, who could read and write well enough. Students would use Scratch 3.0-type text-based programming blocks to program their robotic models.
This time round, the LEGO Education SPIKE Essential allows students to use 2 different types of programming blocks, icon-based AND text-based programming blocks. It uses the same app as SPIKE Prime, the SPIKE App.
This allows the set to be relevant to a range of students and their ability levels at preschool and lower-primary levels.
With the same set, teachers and students can begin with basic icon-based coding and then switch to text-based block programming when the students are comfortable with coding.
Icon-based Block Programming on SPIKE Essential with 3 more Extension Packs: Display, Bar Graph, Advanced Movements
Students will experience a smoother transition from icon-based coding to text-based coding with the SPIKE Essential.
2. Each set can be shared between 2 students or more, concurrently
The LEGO SPIKE Essentials set is designed for collaboration in class so each set caters to student pair and groups!
To cut down on building time, educators can form larger groups of students to work simultaneously on 1 project.
3. More than 40 standardised lessons for schools
This set includes 40 standard-aligned yet a wide variety of interactive lessons to guide the children step-by-step through their learning. (You can find them here.)
As the sole distributor and partner of the LEGO Education in Singapore, Duck Learning is also qualified to curate custom programmes and lesson plans for your school's specific needs.
On top of that, since the LEGO Education SPIKE Essential is part of the LEGO Learning System (LLS), the training and curriculum experts at Duck Learning can combine the set with other sets to create even more interesting hybrid lessons!
Regardless of where your students are on the ability spectrum, the sets and lesson plans can be tweaked to suit their needs while challenging them positively.
Don't take our word for it - hear what teachers have to say about the LEGO Learning System in the video down below!
4. Relatable & interesting themes for young learners
The current themes consist of:
- Great Adventures
- Amazing Amusement Park
- Happy Traveler
- Crazy Carnival Games
- Quirky Creations.
The models for the themes give young learners familiar context to problems that they will need to solve by building and coding suitable models.
5. Ready to be integrated with other LEGO Education sets for more exciting lessons
The LEGO Education SPIKE Essential set is part of the LEGO Learning System. (Check out our article about the system here)
This means that it is part of a 4 set system that allows students aged 4 to 16 to learn continuously using the tools that they are familiar with at different learning levels.
Students will spend less time relearning how to use a tool and more time programming and innovating with it!
6. Additional 30-mins art and maths extensions to the base lesson plans
If you think that the free lessons are too short (in case your students are more advanced), you can utilise the lesson extensions at the bottom of the lesson plan pages.
Here are some screenshot examples of the extensions we're talking about.
Using the same sets, your lessons can be expanded to cover different aspects of STEAM and keeps the lessons fresh and engaging for the whole class!
7. Humanising features that help with social emotional learning
A special feature of the set is that it contains human minifigures that help a student's learning in many ways. For instance:
a. Empathising with the minifigure through the problems they may face
b. Relate well with the dreams/goals of the different minifigures and be excited to help the minifigures achieve those objectives with the models they build
c. Role-playing with minifigures to give more of an Arts element to help make STEAM activities less intimidating for students who are not naturally STEM-inclined.
8. High quality of electronic parts to cut time wasted on troubleshooting/replacements
One of the common problems with electronic parts for student-use is that the parts are sometimes not child-friendly. They break down easily, are hard to troubleshoot, or requires already-good motor skills to handle them.
LEGO Education has created hardware elements that are truly student-friendly and easy to use. (This means that even non-STEAM teachers can train quickly and teach their classes on their own, if they wanted to...)
9. LEGO Education Professional Development
Want your own teachers to run the curriculum for your students? They can!
Duck Learning can provide relevant training, certifications and resources as we run the LEGO Education Academy in Singapore.
Schools can differentiate their STEAM lessons by incorporating their teaching pedagogies and focuses in LEGO Education-based classes.
10. Recognised by the FIRST LEGO League as a suitable tool for competitions
Join the competitions with sets and solve real-life issues and challenges using the set.
Find out more about the FIRST LEGO League Singapore and National Robotics Competition (Singapore).
At Duck Learning, we have a learning centre that helps you master the tools to prepare you for competitions as well.
You can check such courses out here: https://ducklearning.com/pages/steam-engine-weekly-courses
And there you have it, 10 thing you should know about the LEGO Education SPIKE Essential Set.
Contact Our Educational Consultants
If you still have questions, please contact our educational consultants to understand how the set can bring spark joy and passion of STEAM in your young students.