Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use educational affordances of robotics to create CS-STEM opportunities for all learners

August 26, 2021

SPIKE Prime Curriculum: Updates and Improvements

By Catherine Porter

The CMRA team has worked over the summer to develop the new Coding and Computational Thinking with SPIKE Prime curriculum.  Our first professional development training sessions for SPIKE Prime occurred while the curriculum was still in the development process. As a result, the team has made some significant changes and improvements to address the feedback received from teachers during the onsite and online SPIKE Prime professional development training sessions. 

Here’s a list of the updates that we’ve made to the Units:

Robot Movement Unit 

  • Feedback: The challenges took too much time to complete.
  • Solution: The mini-challenges and the unit challenge in the Robot Movement Unit were shortened so that students can complete them with less time and less confusion. 


Wait Until & Sensors Unit 

  • Feedback: The solutions to some of the challenges were too similar to the program created in the direct instruction. 
  • Feedback: The Exploring a Disaster Site Unit challenge felt like three mini-challenges rather than one challenge because each section was to be completed separately. The challenge board was too big and could not fit the whole challenge on the classroom table. 
  • Solution: Some of the mini-challenges that seemed superfluous were removed from the unit. The Exploring a Disaster Site Unit challenge was redesigned so that the entire challenge can fit on a classroom table and the robot can complete it in one program, rather than three separate programs. 


Loops Unit

  • Feedback: The use of the “relative position” block did not work the same as the “degrees counted” block in EV3 Classroom, which was confusing. It was also a pain to use since it is an extension block and is not in the Motors block palette. 
  • Solution: The use of the “relative position” block was removed from the lesson pages in this unit. It was originally used in the “Lesson: Repeat Until” page but has since been replaced with the Distance Sensor Boolean block. Since the Back to Lander Mini-Challenge required the “relative position” block in the code solution, the challenge was revised to Search for Ice Part 3.  This new mini-challenge is an extension of Search for Ice Part 1 and 2 and does not require the use of the “relative position” block in the code solution. 


Discrete Decisions Unit

  • Feedback: The mini-challenges in this unit took too much time and were all very similar to each other. 
  • Solution: The mini-challenges Washed Out Roadway and Detour Detection were condensed so that there is only 1 “checkpoint” rather than 3 or 4 checkpoints. The Clearing the Road mini-challenge was revised since the solution was too similar to the Detour Detection mini-challenge. This new challenge asks to move objects to the side of the road rather than driving around piles of rubble.


SubT Capstone Challenge

  • Feedback: It was difficult to program the robot to drive to the center of each room when you have to account for the space between rooms. 
  • Solution: The challenge was redesigned so that all the walls of the rooms are connected. 


To the SPIKE Prime teachers who attended our first onsite and online training sessions, thank you for your feedback! We hope these improvements help you and other SPIKE Prime teachers seamlessly implement our curriculum into your classrooms.