SPIKE™ Essential

High-Tech Playground

What do you think a high-tech playground would look like? Help Maria to design something new for her friends!

30-45 min.
Years 3-5


  • Review the High-Tech Playground 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 further information.


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Facilitate a quick discussion about making changes and improvements to an everyday object.
    • Talk with your pupils about some objects around your school that they'd like to improve.
    • Ask questions like these: What object from around our school would you like to improve? What would you change about it?
  • Introduce your pupils to the story’s main characters and the first challenge: rocking the seesaw.
  • 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 rocks the seesaw.
  • Have your pupils iterate and test their models to complete the next two challenges in the app:
    • Modify the program to make the seesaw more exciting.
    • Design your own upgraded seesaw.
  • 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 program the seesaw to make it high tech? How did your changes make the seesaw more fun for Maria?


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Prompt your pupils to discuss and reflect on ways of using the design process to improve an existing object.
  • Ask questions like these: What happens when you try to improve something but your first idea doesn’t work as you’d hoped? How can you adjust your idea to make it successful?
  • 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 using the design process to improve an existing object.
  • 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 use the design process to improve an
    existing object.
  • Blue: I can use the design process to improve an existing object.
  • Green: I can use the design process to improve an existing object,
    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 U5L3_ICB_1 - en-gb
Gecko U5L3_ICB_1 - en-gb
Gecko U5L3_ICB_2 - en-gb
Gecko U5L3_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 personalise their models.

There are no specific building instructions for this challenge.


Simplify this lesson by:

  • Selecting one Inspiration Image to help your pupils personalise their models
  • Experimenting with either the coding or the building

Increase the difficulty by:

  • Having your pupils interview each other about the features they'd like a seesaw to have, then designing one that meets those specifications
  • Exploring new and different Coding Blocks in the program


  • Have your pupils write an opinion piece on whether there should be a playground at their school. Make sure that they give a clear argument that is supported by facts and details.

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

Language Arts: National Curriculum English En5/3.3 Composition b

Teacher Support

The pupils will:

  • Use the design process to improve an existing object
  • Develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a design process
  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions

(one for every two pupils)

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

National Curriculum

Design and Technology

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


  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
    Draft and write by:
  • selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning
  • in narratives, describing settings, characters and atmosphere and integrating dialogue to convey character and advance the action
  • précising longer passages
  • using a wide range of devices to build cohesion within and across paragraphs
  • using further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader

Pupil Material

Student Worksheet

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