Our future professionals need to be inspired, creative and flexible thinkers that can apply the skills learnt in the classroom to the real world.
This is especially key when it comes to engaging students in STEAM; these subjects cannot be taught in isolation and it’s important to unleash students’ imagination and creativity when learning, allowing them to create, invent and test solutions.
This is something that Royal Grammar School Newcastle (RGSN) demonstrates using a range of LEGO® Education resources. It has a dedicated space at the school for LEGO® Education learning solutions and uses various products to help students get hands-on and build essential STEAM skills. As part of this, the school wanted to bring in additional resources to add variety to the curriculum and that’s where LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime fitted in. Chris Wilde, head of digital technology and computing at RGSN, said: “LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime bridges the gap for Key Stage 3 students, helping them to build a solid understanding of coding and the associated languages. It’s very similar to Scratch, which a lot of our students are already familiar with, so it didn’t take long for everyone to get started!”
LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime includes hundreds of new LEGO® Technic elements, all compatible with other LEGO® bricks, which means students have even more freedom and flexibility to create and construct their designs. Chris continued: “Our curriculum is centred around constructionist learning, so the resource has been particularly effective in our computer science lessons, where we use the lesson plans to explore real-world problems and come up with solutions. The units focus on different skills including computational thinking and engineering design, challenging students to create all kinds of projects from designing a factory box sorter through to a personal trainer that memorises and learns a process faster.
“The feedback so far has been incredibly positive. While there’s a lot of noise in the classroom, the engagement is far more than what it would be with paper-based resources! The best bit is sometimes they’re having so much fun, they forget they’re learning! As well as it being intuitive to use – there is very little CPD required – the pedagogy works really well. The timings of lessons are effective; units are split into manageable chunks to match our lesson times, which helps make our teachers’ lives easier when it comes to planning and delivery.”
RGSN also takes part in competitions and activities including the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL), and Chris believes LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime along with the other resources including WeDo 2.0 and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3, will play an important part of the process – especially as the final lesson of the Competition Ready unit has direct ties to the FLL Robot Game. He commented: “It’s an ideal way for students to combine foundational knowledge of robotics and coding, while empowering them to build resilience, confidence and creative solutions that address real-world problems. We are big advocates of the constructionist learning process and hands-on learning is the main way we do this in everything we teach.”