SPIKE™ Prime with Python

My Transportation

Create and program your own method of transportation to get you to school from your house

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

Questions to investigate

• How can a vehicle be designed with programming math functions in mind?


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


(Group Discussion, 15 minutes)

Engage students in a conversation about how students get to school from their homes.

Ask students what the path to school looks like for them each day. Consider putting students into small groups based on location to discuss. Students might also want to create a map or share images with each other when describing the path.

As a whole group discuss what students’ travel to school looks like. Do students need to travel across bodies of water or across a bridge? Over mountains or through a city? Ask students what other examples they can share.

Brainstorm different ideas for a vehicle that could be used to travel to school across all the different types of terrain.

In their small groups, brainstorm several ideas for creating a new type of vehicle to travel to school in that will easily travel over the needed terrain. Each group should come up with unique ideas that support their specific travel needs.

To further their ideas, ask students to work in their smaller groups to create a short survey to ask other students what they would like in a transportation vehicle to get to school. Students can share examples they are thinking about using and ask for other ideas. Students should include 3 questions about what would be effective, fun, and necessary to get to school safely.

Allow students time to create and complete their survey. Students can add additional ideas to their brainstorming list from the survey results.


(Small Groups, 45 minutes)

Students will design, build, and program a transportation vehicle to bring them to school.

Design and Choose the Right Idea
Students should consider the input from their surveys and start to design their vehicle.

Students will design, build, and program a transportation vehicle that could be used to bring them to school. 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 a math function in the program
5. It must work for at least two types of terrain

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 a transportation vehicle that will work for at least two types of terrain? Ask students to share their program comments to explain.
• What decisions did you have to make while creating your design?
• What type of math functions did you choose?
• 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, 10 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 math functions 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 a transportation vehicle to bring them to school

• 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-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.
2-IC-22 Collaborate with many contributors through strategies such as crowdsourcing or surveys when creating a computational artifact.