Carnegie Mellon University

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

January 30, 2023

By Catherine Porter

The new year has brought a lot of changes in the world of SPIKE Prime. LEGO recently released a 3.0 version of the LEGO Education SPIKE App. The original version is still available but is now known as the “Legacy App.” Our team analyzed these new changes in the SPIKE 3.0 app and decided the best way to support the community was to duplicate our Coding and Computational Thinking with SPIKE Prime curriculum and make changes as necessary to match the 3.0 version of the app. Whether you are a teacher using the SPIKE Legacy App or the new SPIKE 3.0 App, we now have curricula to support both!

The most notable changes from the 2.0, now Legacy App, to the new SPIKE 3.0 App are the Movement Word Blocks. Previously we were using this block below to make point turns. You were able to set the direction of the turn by selecting the arrows.

The 3.0 version of this block shown below only allows you to drive forward and reverse.

We updated our curriculum to make a point turn with the steering block. If you set the steering value to (right: 100) or (left: -100), the robot executes a turn in place.

However, you may have noticed that the unit is set to rotations unlike the blocks above it. Previously we taught turning in centimeters. In the new 3.0 version of our curriculum, we teach how to make point turns and swing turns with rotations in the steering block.

There is a little more heavy lifting when figuring out how much we want the robot to turn. For example, programming the robot to make a 90-degree point turn. How many rotations does it take for the robot to make a 90-degree point turn? We need to follow a few calculated steps to figure it out, which involves finding the robot’s circumference, arc length, then converting it to rotations.

We tested out each type of turn from wide to sharp swing turns and came up with the following chart. Note that these values are specific to our robot. They may not be the same if you have a different build.

Learn more about robot movement in our Coding and Computational Thinking with SPIKE Prime (3.0) curriculum! For information on additional changes in the new app, you can check out LEGO’s FAQ page.