SPIKE™ Essential

Hovering Helicopter

Help Maria get to Spike Mountain for a hike!

30-45 min.
Grades 3-5


  • Review the Hovering Helicopter 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 describing a decision, a choice, or experience to a friend.
    • Talk with your students about telling a friend about a new experience (e.g., an activity or movie).
    • Ask questions, like: How do you feel when you tell someone about a new experience? Why do you think it's valuable to share?
  • Introduce your students to the story’s main characters and the first challenge: starting the helicopter.
  • 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 helicopter.
  • Have your students iterate and test their models to complete the next two challenges in the app:
    • Create the program that makes the helicopter act differently when it's tilted.
    • Upgrade the helicopter for Maria’s next 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 Maria’s helicopter get to Spike Mountain? How did you modify Maria’s helicopter to improve it for her next adventure?


(Whole Class, 5 Minutes)

  • Prompt your students to discuss and reflect on the choices they've made while developing their programs.
  • Ask questions, like: Why is it important to describe the choices you've made when creating your program? How can describing your program to others help you improve it?
  • 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 describing the choices they've made while developing their programs.
  • 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 explain the decisions I've made while developing my program.
    • Blue: I can explain the decisions I've made while developing my program.
    • Green: I can explain the decisions I've made while developing my program, 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

  • 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 U3L3_ICB_1 - en
Gecko U3L3_ICB_1 - en
Gecko U3L3_ICB_2 - en
Gecko U3L3_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:

  • Reading the Hovering Helicopter 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:

  • Adding the Color Sensor or another motor to Maria’s helicopter
  • Pairing up student groups to explain their programs and suggest improvements to one another


  • Have your students write a narrative about what Maria sees, hears, smells, and feels on her hike.

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

Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.3.B

Teacher Support

Students will:

  • Describe the choices they've made when creating a program
  • Create and test automated solutions
  • Recount an experience using relevant facts and descriptive details

(one for every two students)

  • LEGO® Education SPIKE Essential Set
  • Device with the LEGO® Education SPIKE App installed
  • CSTA 1B-AP-17
  • NGSS 3-5-ETS 1-3
  • ISTE 1.5b

Language Arts Extension


Student Material

Student Worksheet

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