SPIKE™ Prime with Python


Practice troubleshooting hardware and program issues by designing and programming a new model.

45 min
Years 7-9 or Key Stage 3

Questions to investigate

• What debugging techniques can be used when designing a new model?


• Ensure SPIKE Prime hubs are charged, especially if connecting through Bluetooth.


(Group Discussion, 5 minutes)

Spark a discussion about what a debug-inator is through brainstorming.

Ask students to come up with at least 3 things that their debug-inator will need to do. During this brainstorming session, students should gather as many ideas as possible and record them in their journals.

Prompt students as needed with questions like:
• Will your model need to sense anything?
• How will your model need to move?
• Will you need to utilize the console in any way?

Allow students to share their ideas from their brainstorming. Students should then decide on the final three main criteria that need to be included in their model.


(Small Groups, 20 minutes)

Challenge students to design, build, program, test, and troubleshoot a new model that is a debug-inator meeting the criteria that they set.

Students should create their prototype being careful to include the three main criteria determined in the engage section. Students should practice their troubleshooting strategies while designing and building their model by testing the model’s ability to move as intended.

Students will need to program their model. When creating their program, students should
• write a pseudocode program first to show the intended outcome of their program
• document their program using code comments with the #
• test the program, watching the console for error messages
• test the program using expected and unexpected outcomes or data

Allow students time to design, build, and program their models. Students should document any problems they encounter and how they fix or troubleshoot these issues.


(Whole Group, 5 minutes)

Allow students to share their work. Discuss students’ models and programs together.
Ask students questions like:
• What does your debug-inator do?
• What 3 expectations did you have for your model? How did you create something to meet these expectations?
• How did you program your model? Ask students to share the program using the code comments to explain it.
• What trouble did you have? Where did you find bugs? How did you fix them?


(Small Groups, 10 minutes)

Have students finish their models and programs.

Allow students additional time to finalize their model and programs. Encourage collaboration between teams and sharing of ideas.


(Group Exercise, 5 minutes)

Teacher Observation
Discuss the program with students.  Ask students questions like:   
• What problems did you run into while creating your debug-inator?
• How did you test your model and program for errors? How did you troubleshoot the errors found?
• How did you determine if problems encountered were from the model or the program?

Have students answer the following in their journals:
• Ask students what challenges they encountered in creating their debug-inator.
• Ask students to rate themselves on a scale of 1-3, on their time management today.
• Ask students to rate themselves on a scale of 1-3, on their materials (parts) management today.
• What characteristics of a good teammate did you display today?

Teacher Support

Students will:
• Debug a software problem.
• Troubleshoot a hardware problem

• Device with SPIKE App installed
• Student journal

2-AP-10 Use flowcharts and/or pseudocode to address complex problems as algorithms.
2-AP-13 Decompose problems and subproblems into parts to facilitate the design, implementation, and review of programs.
2-AP-17 Systematically test and refine programs using a range of test cases.
2-AP-19 Document programs in order to make them easier to follow, test, and debug.