SPIKE™ Essential

Treehouse Camp

Sofie is looking forward to seeing the moon from her treehouse! How can she open the treehouse roof for a great view of the sky?

30-45 min.
Grades 1-2


  • Review the Treehouse Camp lesson in the LEGO® Education SPIKE App.
  • If necessary, pre-teach these related vocabulary words: camping, debug, moon, roof, and treehouse.
  • 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 having to make a change in order to be able to do something.
    • Talk with your students about wanting to see the sunset while standing in the classroom but not being able to.
    • Ask questions, like: What could you change to be able to see the sunset while standing in the classroom? What could you move or remove to help you see it?
  • Introduce your students to the story’s main characters and the first challenge: opening the treehouse roof.
  • 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:
    • Make and try the program that opens the treehouse roof.
    • Note: The first program your students create won't be successful. They'll be prompted to fix (debug) the program using a Motor Block running in the opposite direction.
  • Have your students iterate and test their models to complete the next challenge in the app:
    • Change the treehouse for Sofie’s next camping adventure.
  • 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 help Sofie see the moon? How did you make the treehouse roof move?


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Prompt your students to discuss and reflect on the importance of fixing (debugging) errors in a program.
  • Ask questions, like: Why is it important to make sure that your program works correctly? What can you do if your program isn't working the way you want it to?
  • 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 testing their programs and fixing the errors they find.
  • 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 test my program and fix the errors I find.
    • Blue: I can test my program and fix the errors I find.
    • Green: I can test my program and fix the errors I find, 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

  • To successfully debug their programs, your students will need to replace the Motor Block.
    • Changing the direction of the motor will enable the treehouse roof to open.

Model Tip

  • After your students complete their first 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:

  • Reading the Treehouse Camp story and instructions from the LEGO® Education SPIKE App aloud to your students
  • Selecting one Inspiration Image to help your students change their models

Increase the difficulty by:

  • Including the Loop Block in the program to automate how the roof opens and closes
  • Using the Color Sensor to change how the treehouse roof is activated


  • Have your students write a description of Sofie’s treehouse, draw a picture of it, and label its parts.

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

Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.5

Teacher Support

Students will:

  • Identify and fix errors in a program (test and debug)
  • Test to ensure the program works correctly
  • Practice helping a story character
  • Participate in collaborative conversations

(one for every two students)

  • LEGO® Education SPIKE Essential Set
  • Device with the LEGO® Education SPIKE App installed
  • CSTA 1A-AP-14
  • NGSS K-2-ETS1-2
  • ISTE 1.5c

Language Arts Extension


Student Material

Student Worksheet

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