“Prime” Time for New Robotics!

March 9, 2020 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

by Alison Earnheart, Outreach Support

LEGO Education launched its new SPIKE Prime robotics system in January 2020 and Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) was thrilled to have our students be among the very first to explore it the following month! Offering cutting edge technological experiences paired with research-backed teaching methods is our specialty, and it was a real treat for us to introduce this brand-new product so soon after its availability

Our in-house educators assembled four days of expertly crafted projects to challenge and engage students across a variety of topics. The week started with getting introduced to the SPIKE Prime robotics kit and all the motors, sensors, and fun new LEGO Technic building elements (with nicknames like “biscuits” and “the cheese grater”). Students assembled robots to complete mini-challenges like racing robots without wheels and robots that back up and turn around when they bump into an obstacle. Robots were programmed using a new block-based programming language from LEGO Education based on Scratch, which proved to be an intuitive way to learn basic coding skills.

Later in the week, activities scaled up to more open-ended projects like engineering a Mars rover to traverse an obstacle-filled Martian terrain and building automatic dog houses that open when they sense the presence (or specific color!) of a toy dog. On the last day, students designed and built their own interactive robotic pets. We had a whole zoo of robots from snakes and hamsters to less traditional pets like sheep and dragons! Here’s a cat that meows and moves forward to be petted when it senses a hand in front of it!

We’re already looking forward to April break when we will be hosting our next SPIKE Prime workshop. Our educators are developing new projects to explore, like driverless cars that keep passengers safe, and assistive devices for animals with special needs. The workshop is open to students in grades 3rd through 8th, costs $400 per child, and will run April 21st through the 24th. Workshops start at 9am and end at 3pm daily, with before and aftercare being offered by request for an additional fee. We hope your child can join us in April! Register here at: http://tiny.cc/aprillego

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