SPIKE™ Prime with Python

Taking Care of My Environment

Investigate local environmental issues and possible ways to help solve these issues

90-120 min.
Years 7-9 or Key Stage 3

Questions to investigate

• How can robots be used to help the environment?


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


(Group Discussion, 15 minutes)

Engage students in a discussion about their local environments.

Ask students to consider local areas like parks, the school grounds, areas near water like a lake or river. Prompt a discussion on these areas and the animals that live there. What are some ways that students could help those living things by creating a robot that can help their environment?
As a group, discuss students' ideas. Then launch into a brainstorming session.

Brainstorm different ideas for a robotic helper that could benefit the environment and living things in it.

In small groups, students should brainstorm several ideas for creating a new type of robotic helper, drawing from ideas used in previous lessons. Students might consider adding something to indicate the cleanliness level, or to sort the trash and recycling, or pick up items. Students might try to design something new and create a helper that pushes trash into one area while spreading seeds behind it. Each group should come up with unique ideas that support their specific needs.


(Small Groups, 45 minutes)

Students will design, build, and program a robotic helper clean up the environment.

Design and Choose the Right Idea
Students will design, build, and program a robotic helper for their environment. The constraints are:
1. It must use the light matrix
2. It must use at least one motor
3. It must use at least one sensor
4. It must include at least one function in the program.
5. It must include parameters to work with the function.

Students should create a sketch of their building idea and a flowchart of their programming idea.

Test and Iterate
Allow time for students to test and analyze their ideas as they go, making improvements where needed. Students should test and evaluate their designs against the design criteria set and their flowcharts as they start making their solutions.

Ensure students use sketches and photos of their models to record in their design journey.

Allow students to receive feedback on their designs as time allows. This can be from other groups or the teacher.


(Whole Group, 15 minutes)

Students should share their design and explain how it works. Conduct an initial sharing session with students.

Ask students questions like:
• How did you program your model to create an environmental helper using at least one function? Ask students to share their program comments to explain.
• What decisions did you have to make while creating your design?
• How did you incorporate parameters?
• What were areas that you had to debug or troubleshoot?
• What was difficult about this challenge?


(Small Groups, 25 minutes)

Allow students additional time to complete their program after the initial sharing session.

Students should finalize their design and program. Encourage students to incorporate any new ideas they get from the sharing session.

Allow students to share out their final designs and explain how they met the criteria.

Leave the models together if you are completing the lesson on feedback next.


(Group Exercise, 15 minutes)

Teacher Observation:
Discuss the program with students.
Ask students questions like:
• What was difficult about this challenge?
• What was your approach to solving this challenge?
• What type of functions and parameters did you include and why?

Have students answer the following in their journals:
• What did you learn today about creating your own design based on given criteria?
• What characteristics of a good teammate did I display today?
• 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.

Teacher Support

Students will:
• Design, build, and program an environmental helper to take care of a local area

• SPIKE Prime sets ready for student use
• Devices with the SPIKE App installed
• Student journals

2-CS-02 Design projects that combine hardware and software components to collect and exchange data.
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-14 Create procedures with parameters to organize code and make it easier to reuse
2-AP-16 Incorporate existing code, media, and libraries into original programs, and give attribution.
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.