This is the first season that I’ve ever coached a FIRST LEGO League Challenge team. I’m excited! This is also the first time in my life that I’ve ever used a Spike Prime robot or coded using Spike Prime word blocks. I have several years experience working as an engineer and programmer and I love learning new skills, so I’m not worried. I’m learning right alongside my own kids and the kids on my team. You can learn along with me too! I’ve already written a series of 5 tutorials covering the absolute basics. Now I’m working on a series of challenges so that kids can learn-by-doing (which, in my opinion, is the best way to learn).
If your child has already completed the first two challenges, this one should be a piece of cake. It requires the same skills as before. Namely, the ability to drive the car from a starting location to a target destination. They could even use the same progam they wrote for the first challenge, Moving to a Square. However, this time they will likely want to build an attachment to push the object with, so I wanted to keep it simple.
Some kids that play with LEGOs all the time will likely find this challenge trivial. Others will probably wonder, “how in the heck am I supposed to attach ANYTHING to this?” I have kids that fall on both ends of the spectrum. However, I have noticed that even those that missed the boat on playing with LEGOs as a kid catch on pretty quickly. They might need to model others for awhile, but eventually it will all start coming more naturally.
For your convenience, here are all the challenges I have written so far or have plans to write in the near future. Sign up for my newsletter to say up-to-date!
- Spike Prime Challenge 1: Moving to a Square
- Spike Prime Challenge 2: Avoiding an Obstacle
- Spike Prime Challenge 3: Pushing an Object (*this post*)
- Spike Prime Challenge 4: Using a Distance Center for Navigation
- Spike Prime Challenge 5: Knocking Over a Tower
- Spike Prime Challenge 6: Lifting a Square
Spike Prime Challenge: Moving to Square Details
Recommended Age Range: Elementary, Middle School, High School
Time Required: This took my kids about 5 minutes, since one child in particular is really good at buildign with LEGOs, but it could be more or less!
Cost: The LEGO Education Spike Prime Set costs $400 on the LEGO site. As of this writing, it is more expensive on Amazon, but I would check to compare!
This challenge is very similar to the first challenge, Moving to a Square. If you need to set up a starting squae and a target square using masking tape, please refer back to that post for detailed instructions. Rather than simply driving the robot from one square to the other, this time, there is an object (such as the masking tape) in the target destination. The objective this time is to move that object completely out of the square.
If your child is completely stuck, you could ask if they would rather push or pull the object out of the square. Pushing is definitely easier. Then ask them how they want to push. What surface are they going to use to push the tape out of the way? Could they somehow add a flat surface to the front of their robot like a plow that could be used for pushing?
I will say this each time, but my solution is not the only correct solution! The students may find that they don’t need any sort of attachement. Maybe they can just drive their robot past the square and find that in the process the tape is moved out of the square! As long as they are solving the challenge the way you presented it, whatever they do is a complete success!
For my solution, I first created an attachment to add a “plow” feature to the front of my robot. Here’s what it looked like:
So that you can see how it was made here are some expanded views with it taken off the robot and broken into it’s component pieces
Once my plow piece was attached, I simply modified my program from the first challenge to have it drive past the square. Here is my word blocks code:
Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions! 😉