Build X

This is a great introductory activity that works with any kit of parts and is suitable for all ages and levels of experience.

The challenge

This challenge can be framed in a variety of ways depending on the resources that you have available and is limited only by imagination. For example…

Using just the pieces in the top of the EV3 core set (i.e. no electronics), build an animal. You can do this on your own or working in pairs. You’ve got 5 minutes.

The menagerie

Teacher notes

A simple building challenge like this is a great chance for those who’ve never played with Technic-style LEGO elements to start getting a feel for how the pieces fit together before we get into the robotics.

I have two main purposes when I give this kind of challenge.

  1. To give students a chance to get familiar with the range of pieces in the kits (and particularly the idea of studless LEGO building) without any pressure to get the “right answer”, before we start working with the electronics and the software.
  2. To help students be comfortable sharing their work.

Of course it doesn’t really matter what the students are asked to build, and it certainly doesn’t need to be an animal. As an ice-breaker activity, for example, it can be nice to have the students build something that represents something they did over summer break, a hobby, or any of the following ideas.

Build an example of… (or something that represents…)

  • home automation
  • animal / pet / native animal / bird
  • fantasy creature
  • musical instrument
  • assistive device
  • scientific apparatus
  • game piece or sport equipment
  • office stationery
  • vehicle
  • your next holiday destination
  • your favourite movie/book/song/etc.
  • a landmark that more people should visit
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Rob Torok

I'm a teacher in Tasmania, Australia, and have been using LEGO MINDSTORMS with my students since 2001. I'm the editor in chief for LEGO Engineering (this site) as well as the content editor for LEGO Education Australia (

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