SPIKE™ Essential

Twirling Teacups

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

30-45 min.
Grades 1-2


  • Review the Twirling Teacups lesson in the LEGO® Education SPIKE App.
  • Consider the abilities and backgrounds of all your students. Differentiate the lesson to make it accessible to everyone. See the Differentiation section below for suggestions.
  • If time allows, plan and facilitate the language arts extension. See 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 students about how a spinning amusement park ride works.
    • Ask questions, like: 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 students 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 students 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 students 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 support in the Tips section below.


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

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


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Prompt your students 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: Why is it important to know why you're modifying your prototype, and what your goal is? How do you keep that goal in mind when you're improving or upgrading a prototype?
  • Have your students clean up their workstations.


(Ongoing Throughout the Lesson)

  • Ask guiding questions to encourage your students to “think aloud” and explain their thought processes and reasoning in the decisions they've made while building and programming.

Observation Checklist

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


  • Have each student choose the brick that they feel best represents their performance.
    • Yellow: I think 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 help a friend do it too.


  • In their small groups, have your students 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 Tip
Your students will use a Message Block when completing their first challenge.

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

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

  • After your students complete their first challenge, they'll be provided with three Inspiration Coding Blocks to help them 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 students complete their second challenge, they’ll be provided with three Inspiration Images and an open-ended prompt for improving their models.
  • The Inspiration Images are to help spark their imaginations as they experiment and change their models.

There aren't any building instructions for this challenge.


Simplify this lesson by:

  • Shortening the lesson to only include the first challenge
  • Selecting one Inspiration Image to help your students 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 students research different rides in an amusement park, select their favorite, and write a persuasive paragraph about why it's the best ride.

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

Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.7

Teacher Support

Students will:

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

(one for every two students)

  • LEGO® Education SPIKE Essential Set
  • Device with the LEGO® Education SPIKE App installed
  • CSTA 1A-AP-08
  • NGSS K-2 ETS 1-1
  • ISTE 1.4d

Language Arts Extension


Student Material

Student Worksheet

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