SPIKE™ Essential

Swamp Boat

Sofie has found crocodile eggs! Could there be crocodiles nearby?

30-45 min.
Years 3-5


  • Review the Swamp Boat lesson in the LEGO® Education SPIKE App.
  • If you feel that it would be beneficial, pre-teach these related vocabulary words: content, modifications, notify, observe and predict.
  • 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 maths extension. Please refer to the Extension section below for further information.


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Facilitate a quick discussion about modifying an existing object to achieve a goal.
    • Talk with your pupils about needing to see what's under the water.
    • Ask questions like these: What could you change about your eyes in order to make it possible to see under the water? What would you need?
  • Introduce your pupils to the story’s main characters and the first challenge: telling Sofie when her boat is near a crocodile.
  • 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 tells Sofie when her boat is near a crocodile.
  • Have your pupils iterate and test their models to complete the next two challenges in the app:
    • Modify the program to tell Sofie in a different way when her boat is near a crocodile.
    • Upgrade the swamp boat to help Sofie find other animals.
  • 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 Sofie know when she was near a crocodile? What did you change about how the swamp boat told Sofie when she was near a crocodile? What did the swamp boat do then?


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Prompt your pupils to discuss and reflect on making modifications to an existing program.
  • Ask questions like these: Why is it important to be able to modify an existing program? How did you decide which Coding Blocks to use when you modified your program?
  • 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 modifying an existing program.
  • 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 modify an existing program.
  • Blue: I can modify an existing program.
  • Green: I can modify an existing program, and I can also help a friend
    to do it.

Peer Feedback

  • In their small groups, have your pupils discuss their experiences of 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

  • 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 U3L4_ICB_1 - en-gb
Gecko U3L4_ICB_1 - en-gb
Gecko U3L4_ICB_2 - en-gb
Gecko U3L4_ICB_3 - en-gb

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:

  • Reading the Swamp Boat story and instructions from the LEGO® Education SPIKE App aloud to your pupils
  • 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
  • Prompting your pupils to modify each other’s programs in order to improve one another’s work


  • Have your pupils keep track of the number of animals Sofie’s boat detects. Ask them to create a bar graph and calculate how many more and how many fewer of each animal the boat encountered.

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

Maths: National Curriculum Maths Ma3/4.1 Statistics

Teacher Support

The pupils will:

  • Identify the parts of an existing program that should be modified
  • Carry out tests to identify where a program can be modified
  • Recount an experience using relevant facts and descriptive details

(one for every two pupils)

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

National Curriculum


  • use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs

Design and Technology

  • evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work

Draft and write by:

  • composing and rehearsing sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures
  • organising paragraphs around a theme
  • in narratives, creating settings, characters and plot
  • in non-narrative material, using simple organisational devices


  • Statistics
  • interpret and present data using bar charts, pictograms and tables
  • solve one-step and two-step questions using information presented in scaled bar charts and pictograms and tables.

Pupil Material

Student Worksheet

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