SPIKE™ Essential

Twirling Teacups

Round and round! Sofie and Leo are excited to try this new spinning ride today.

30-45 min.
Years 1-2


  • Review the Twirling Teacups lesson in the LEGO® Education SPIKE App.
  • Consider the abilities and backgrounds of all your pupils. Differentiate the lesson to make it accessible to everyone. Please refer to the Differentiation section below for suggestions on how to do this.
  • If time permits, plan and facilitate the language arts extension. Please refer to the Extension section below for more information.


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Facilitate a quick discussion about how to consider a specific goal or outcome when refining and improving an existing object.
    • Talk with your pupils about how a spinning amusement park ride works.
    • Ask questions like these: If you were adding new seats to a spinning ride, what would those new seats have to be able to do? What would you have to think about as you added the new seats?
  • Introduce your pupils to the story’s main characters and the first challenge: starting the teacup ride.
  • Distribute a brick set and a device to each group.


(Small Groups, 30 Minutes)

  • Have your pupils use the LEGO® Education SPIKE App to guide them through their first challenge:
    • Create and test the program that starts the teacup ride.
  • Have your pupils iterate and test their models to complete the next two challenges in the app:
    • Change the program to improve the teacup ride.
    • Upgrade the teacup ride to fit more friends. Make sure that all of the seats can move or spin!
  • You can find coding and building help in the Tips section below.


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Gather your pupils together to reflect on their completed challenges.
  • Ask questions like these: How did you upgrade the teacup ride?* How did you make sure that the new seats moved while the ride was spinning?*


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Prompt your pupils to discuss and reflect on why it's important to keep the desired outcome or goal in mind when modifying a prototype.
  • Ask questions like these: Why is it important to know your goal and why you're modifying your prototype? How do you keep that goal in mind while you're improving or upgrading a prototype?
  • Have your pupils tidy up their workstations.


(Ongoing Throughout the Lesson)

  • Ask guiding questions to encourage your pupils to ‘think aloud’ and explain their thought processes and reasoning in the decisions they’ve made while building and programming their models.

Observation Checklist

  • Measure your pupils’ proficiency in refining and improving potential prototypes with a specific goal or outcome in mind.
  • Establish a scale that suits your needs. For example:
    1. Requires additional support
    2. Can work independently
    3. Can teach others

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

  • Yellow: I think that I can refine and improve prototypes with a
    specific goal or outcome in mind.
  • Blue: I can refine and improve prototypes with a specific goal or
    outcome in mind.
  • Green: I can refine and improve prototypes with a specific goal or
    outcome in mind, and I can also help a friend to do it.

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…


Coding Tips
Your pupils will use a Message Block when completing their first challenge.

  • The Message Blocks allow your pupils to run multiple blocks in parallel.

  • Whenever a Send Message Block (closed envelope icon) is used, the Received Message Block (same-coloured open envelope icon) is activated.

  • After your pupils have completed their first challenge, they'll be provided with three Inspiration Coding Blocks, which will help them to modify their programs.

  • The Inspiration Coding Blocks are intended to spark their imaginations as they experiment to find their own solutions.

Gecko U2L5_ICB_1 - en
Gecko U2L5_ICB_1 - en
Gecko U2L5_ICB_2 - en
Gecko U2L5_ICB_3 - en

Model Tip

  • After your pupils have completed their second challenge, they’ll be provided with three Inspiration Images and an open-ended prompt, which will help them to improve their models.
  • The Inspiration Images are meant to help spark their imaginations as they experiment and change their models.

There are no specific building instructions for this challenge.


Simplify this lesson by:

  • Shortening the lesson to include only the first challenge
  • Selecting one Inspiration Image to help your pupils to change their models

Increase the difficulty by:

  • Exploring new and different Coding Blocks in the program
  • Investigating how to make the seats spin in different directions


  • Have your pupils research different rides in an amusement park, select their favourite and write a persuasive paragraph about why it's the best ride.

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

Language Arts: National Curriculum English En2/1i participate in discussions, presentations, performances, roleplay/improvisations and debates

Teacher Support

The pupils will:

  • Modify a solution while considering a specific goal or outcome
  • Refine and improve the prototype
  • Practise helping a story character
  • Describe key ideas or details from a text

(one for every two pupils)

  • LEGO® Education SPIKETM Essential Set
  • Device with the LEGO® Education SPIKE App installed

National Curriculum

Design and Technology

  • explore and evaluate a range of existing products
  • evaluate their ideas and products against design criteriaEn2/1g
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas


  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, roleplay/improvisations and debates
  • explain and discuss their understanding of books, poems and other material, both those that they listen to and those that they read for themselves.

Pupil Material

Student Worksheet

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