SPIKE™ Essential

High-Tech Playground

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

30-45 min.
Grades 3-5


  • Review the High-Tech Playground 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 making changes and improvements to an everyday object.
    • Talk with your students about some objects around your school that they'd like to improve.
    • Ask questions, like: What object from around our school would you like to improve? What would you change about it?
  • Introduce your students 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 students use the LEGO® Education SPIKE App to guide them through their first challenge:
    • Create and test the program that rocks the seesaw.
  • Have your students 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 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 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 students to discuss and reflect on ways of using the design process to improve an existing object.
  • Ask questions, like: What happens when you try to improve something but your first idea doesn’t work? How can you adjust your idea to make it successful?
  • 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 using the design process to improve an existing object.
  • 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 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 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 U5L3_ICB_1 - en
Gecko U5L3_ICB_1 - en
Gecko U5L3_ICB_2 - en
Gecko U5L3_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 personalize their models.

There aren't any building instructions for this challenge.


Simplify this lesson by:

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

Increase the difficulty by:

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

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

Language Arts: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1

Teacher Support

Students 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 students)

  • LEGO® Education SPIKE Essential Set
  • Device with the LEGO® Education SPIKE App installed
  • CSTA 1B-AP-12
  • NGSS 3-5 ETS1-2
  • ISTE 1.4c

Language Arts Extension


Student Material

Student Worksheet

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