SPIKE™ Essential


Maria saw bees on the flowers of her apple tree. She wonders what they’re doing. Can you help her learn?

45-90 min.
Year 2-3


(NOTE: This lesson contains a Part A and a Part B. Both are important to access the full learning of the curriculum. If time is limited, review both parts to choose elements that meet your pupils’ needs.)

In this lesson, pupils will build a model that shows how animals move pollen from one plant to another during the pollination process and Elaborate with it to show the seed dispersal process. The example images are provided for inspiration. Encourage pupils to design and build their own ideas about these processes.

  • Build Prior Knowledge - Pollination: Using your core science materials, share information, images and definitions. If possible, reference a labelled diagram of plant parts.
    • Plants need pollen from other plants to make seeds that create new plants.
    • Animals help transfer pollen from one flowering plant to another in a process called pollination.
    • When animals like insects (bees), bats and birds gather nectar from a flower, they brush against the flower’s stamen and pick up pollen. The stamens are arranged to make this easier.
    • Key vocabulary: pollen, pollination, dispersal
  • Building and Programming Experience: Consider the suggestions in the Unit Plan. For this lesson, you may also want to
    • Reinforce with the Motor tutorial in the SPIKE App Start menu.
    • Use the Motor and Event Blocks sections of the Help>Icon Blocks menu in the SPIKE app to provide more support.
  • Materials: Locate age-appropriate science videos about pollination and a labelled diagram of plant parts. For videos, use the search term pollination  (and dispersal if you wish). For diagrams, use the search terms labelled plant diagram to locate images including labels beyond those in your science curriculum.

PART A (45 Minutes)


(Whole Class, 10 minutes)

  • Introduce the story’s main character(s) and the first challenge: Maria saw bees on the flowers of her apple tree. She wonders what they’re doing. Can you help her learn?

  • THINK – Facilitate a brief discussion about the lesson topic(s), using the story picture if you wish.

    • Why do plants need pollen? (Plants need pollen from other plants to make seeds.)
    • How does pollen get from one flower to another? (Birds, such as hummingbirds, and insects, such as bees and butterflies, pollinate the flowers of many plants. They get the pollen from one flower and leave it on another.)
    • How do the parts of a flower make pollination easier? (Flower parts like the stamen make it easier for animals to get the pollen. Parts like the pistil make it easier for animals to put the pollen in a new flower.)
  • Distribute a SPIKE Essential Set and device to each group.


(Small Groups, 25 minutes)

  • As pupils work, consider sharing the examples below as support for building or programming. Clarify that the image(s) show one idea and pupils should build their own ideas for how animals move pollen from one plant to another.

  • Have pupils:

    • Use the base model to BUILD a model to help Maria learn. Show one way that animals move pollen from one plant to another.
    • PROGRAM their model to show when or how pollination happens.
  • Facilitate brainstorming about ways to use LEGO® elements to create pollen that can be transferred from one plant to another by an animal. Guide them toward including a movable piece of pollen.

  • Halfway through work time, have pupils exchange ideas using a familiar classroom routine and then update their models with inspiration from sharing.

Example Ideas

SPIKE Essential Pollination - en


(Whole Class, 10 minutes)

  • Gather pupils for sharing.

  • Have each group use their model to demonstrate and explain:

    • Which part of the plant helps put pollen onto an animal? Which part of another plant takes the pollen off?
    • Which part of an animal helps move pollen from one plant to another?
    • Why are animals important for pollinating plants?
  • Invite pupils to share how they changed their model to improve its performance.

If you wish to continue to Part B – Explain, have pupils keep their models intact or allow time for rebuilding.

PART B (45 minutes)


(Whole Class, 10 minutes)

  • Repeat the steps from Part A - Explain to have additional groups demonstrate and explain their learning.


(Whole Class, 30 minutes)

  • (5 min) Share background to help pupils Elaborate:

    • After a flower is pollinated, the plant makes fruit that contains seeds.
    • Sometimes animals eat the fruit and later leave the seeds in new places as droppings.
    • Sometimes seeds are inside prickly burrs that stick onto the body of animals like deer, rabbits or dogs and later fall off in new places.
  • (20 min) Have your pupils iterate and test their models to complete the next challenge in the app:

    • Design, build and program a model that shows one way that animals can spread seeds.
  • (5 min) Invite pupils to share knowledge, ideas or skills that:

    • Helped them complete the challenge.
    • They learned while building.
  • Have pupils clean up the sets and work areas.


(Whole Class, 5 minutes)

  • Ask guiding questions to elicit pupils’ thinking and their decisions while developing ideas, building and programming.

Observation Checklist

  • Review the learning objectives (Teacher Support box).
  • Use the checklist to observe pupils’ progress:
    • Their models of pollination between a plant and animal include a removable pollen piece.
    • Their explanation demonstrates that pollen is transferred through physical contact with an animal.
    • They explain why animals are important to the pollination process and seed dispersal (Elaborate).


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

  • Blue brick: I think I can follow instructions to create a program.
  • Yellow brick: I can follow instructions to create a program.
  • Green brick: I can follow instructions to create a program, and I can help a friend do it too.

Peer Feedback

In their small groups, have your pupils discuss their experiences working together.
Encourage them to use statements like these:

  • I liked it when you…
  • I’d like to hear more about how you…


Simplify this lesson by:

  • Narrowing the first challenge by assigning pupils a specific animal (like a bee, bird or bat) to show in their model. Ask pupils yes/no questions to elicit their explanation.

Increase the difficulty by:

  • Extending the Elaborate challenge: Have pupils change their Elaborate models to show additional ways seeds are dispersed, such as being transported by wind or water.

Cross-curricular Learning

  • Share that in some other countries monarch butterflies are important pollinators. Locate a bar graph showing the changes in the population of these pollinators (search images for Monarch population in millions). Have pupils use the bar graph numbers (without the represented millions) to add and subtract the population of different years. For example, if the bar for 2015 says 42 and the bar for 2014 says 25, what is the difference in population between the two years?

If facilitated, this will extend beyond the 45-minute lesson.

Teacher Support

Pupils will:

  • Explain how animals help plants spread pollen.
  • Build an accurate model of the pollination process, with details showing pollen transfer through direct contact with a bird, a bat or an insect.

(one for every two pupils)

  • LEGO® Education SPIKE Essential Set
  • Device with the LEGO Education SPIKE App installed
  • See Prepare - Materials.

Year 3 plants

Pupils should be taught to explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

Maths cross-curricular learning

Year 3 Statistics

  • Pupils should be taught to

interpret and present data using bar charts
solve one-step and two-step questions [for example, ‘How many more?’ and ‘How many fewer?’] using information presented in scaled bar charts.

Pupil Material

Student Worksheet

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