SPIKE™ Prime Set

The Obstacle Course

Illustrate potential and kinetic energy transfer.

120+ min.
Grades 6-8

Prepare for Blended Learning

(Before the Lesson)

  • Plan accordingly, this project is designed to be completed over multiple sessions.
  • Watch the lesson video on this page.
  • Read through the pupil material for this lesson in the SPIKE App or via the link on this page.
  • You might wish to consider:
    • Choosing the right tool(s) and the right place. For example, watching videos, reading a textbook or preparing for a hands-on experience can easily be done at home. Performing the experiment and collecting data ‘hands-on’ is easier in a classroom setting.
    • Using a variety of tools and allowing for broad differentiation. This will increase your pupils' engagement and improve their learning outcomes.
    • Providing various methods of virtual collaboration. Here are some examples:
      • Videoconferencing
      • Blogs, chats or wall posts
      • Digital versions of pupil worksheets
    • Adapting the lesson flow to account for not being in a classroom setting throughout the entire lesson. We have provided an example lesson flow below.
  • Here are some other ways you can adapt the lesson flow to suit your pupils’ needs:
    • Have your pupils watch the videos describing what they are about to do. You can point them to the SPIKE App or use the pupil worksheet URL.
    • Provide other material that you have already prepared on this topic.
    • Customise the Inventor Notebook to have your pupils prepare their learning experience and reflect on their findings (please see Additional Resources).
    • Use the lesson brief (a printable 1-page lesson overview) to inspire your pupils with an open-ended challenge (please see Additional Resources).


(Project Part A, Before the Lesson, 30 Min.)

  • In this lesson, your pupils will apply what they have already learned about potential and kinetic energy. They will follow the Engineering Design Process to complete an open-ended project where they will create an obstacle course to demonstrate their comprehension of these concepts.
  • The best types of obstacles for this project feature pendulum, ‘seesaw’ or up-and-down motion.
  • Use various materials to engage your students on the topic of pitch, roll and yaw data values.

Ignite a Discussion
Start a discussion by asking questions related to the lesson. Here are a few suggestions:

  • How are kinetic and potential energy related?
  • Do you know of any obstacle course games?

Have your pupils write down their thoughts as a hypothesis.


(Project Part A, During the Lesson, 45 Min.)

  • Have your pupils work in pairs to brainstorm ideas for 2 or 3 obstacle course games to build.
    • Tell them to think about how they will log values to illustrate energy transfer.
    • Make sure that they incorporate the use of data into their ideas.
    • Allow them some time to build prototypes of their ideas.


(Project Part B, During the Lesson, 45 Min.)

  • Tell your pupils to conduct their experiments.
  • Encourage them to record plenty of data to use later and ask them to describe the values that they are going to graph.
  • Have them record videos as they demonstrate their models.


(Project Part B, After the Lesson, 45 Min.)

  • Facilitate a sharing session in which your pupils exchange information. This can be done using whichever method/tool is the most efficient (i.e. in-person or online).


  • Give feedback on each pupil's performance.
  • To simplify the process, you can use the assessment rubrics that have been provided.

Assessment Opportunities

Teacher Observation Checklist
Establish a scale that suits your needs, for example:

Partially accomplished
Fully accomplished

Use the following success criteria to evaluate your pupils' progress:

  • The pupils can identify the key elements of a problem.
  • The pupils are autonomous in developing a working and creative solution.

    The pupils can clearly communicate their ideas.

Have each pupil choose the brick that they feel best represents their performance.

  • Blue: I have successfully created an obstacle course model.
  • Yellow: I have successfully created an obstacle course model and have logged data to demonstrate the transfer of energy.
  • Violet: I have successfully created an obstacle course model. I have logged data to demonstrate the transfer of energy, and I have clearly presented my ideas.

Peer Feedback

Encourage your pupils to provide feedback to one another by:

Having one pupil use the coloured brick scale above to score another pupil’s performance.

  • Asking them to present constructive feedback to one another so that they can improve their group’s performance during the next lesson.


Simplify this lesson by:

  • Providing 4 or 5 obstacle course examples for your pupils to choose from, for example:
    • Horizontal bar obstacle
    • Ring swing obstacle
    • Zip wire obstacle
    • Ladder up-and-down obstacle
  • Using the Horizontal Bar Obstacle model to demonstrate what your pupils are about to do

Take this lesson to the next level by:

  • Facilitating the brainstorming session as a whole-class activity, giving the groups more ideas to choose from.
  • Sharing ideas for obstacle course games or different ways of using motors and sensors


Building Tips

Open-Ended Solutions
This project is designed so that every pupil or team can have a unique solution.

Example Solution
Here is an idea that you could use to inspire your pupils' design process.


Coding Tips
Main Program

SPIKE Prime The Obstacle Course - en-au

Science Data Tips
Here is an example of the data your pupils can expect from this experiment.



Maths Extension

To incorporate the development of maths skills:

  • Have your students use their Hubs to record data outside of the classroom. For example, they could record acceleration values in an elevator, on a playground or at an amusement park. Ask them to compare and describe the graphs from each location.

Note: This will require additional time.


Language Arts Extension

To incorporate the development of language arts skills:

  • Pair up the groups during the Elaborate phase of the lesson. Have one group present their model while the other group takes notes, asks questions, and interviews them. Ask the groups to switch roles. After both groups have shared, have each group create a blog post or a video describing what they have seen.

Note: This will require additional time.


Career Links

The pupils who enjoyed this lesson might be interested in exploring these career pathways:

  • Therapeutic Services
  • Engineering & Technology

Teacher Support

The pupils will:

  • Create a model of an obstacle course that illustrates the use of potential and kinetic energy

LEGO® Education SPIKE Prime Set
Device with the LEGO Education SPIKE App installed
Any other material that is relevant for this project

Change to an object’s motion is caused by unbalanced forces, including Earth’s gravitational attraction, acting on the object.

Energy appears in different forms, including movement (kinetic energy), heat and potential energy, and energy transformations and transfers cause change within systems.

Generate, develop, test, and communicate design ideas, plans and processes for various audiences using appropriate technical terms and including graphical representation techniques.

Independently develop criteria for success to evaluate design ideas, processes and solutions and their sustainability.

Acquire data from a range of sources and evaluate authenticity, accuracy, and timeliness.

Analyse and visualise data using a range of software to create information, and use structured data to model objects or events.

Generate, develop, test, and communicate design ideas, plans and processes for various audiences using appropriate technical terms and technologies including graphical representation techniques.

Analyse how motion, force and energy are used to manipulate and control electromechanical systems when designing simple, engineered solutions.

Pupil Material

Student Worksheet

Download, view or share as an online HTML page or a printable PDF.