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Turtle Art: Spirograph

By Brooke Snow 60 minutes
Grade 7-8
  • Programming
  • Data
  • Design
Tools & Languages

Key Coding Concepts

  • Algorithms
  • Functions
  • Loops
  • Random Numbers
  • Variables



A step-by-step set of operations to be performed to help solve a problem.



A set of instructions in our code that can be repeated over and over again. We call the function to execute the instructions inside.



A block of code that repeats itself a certain number of times.



Stores some information we may want to use again. Ie: a list of possible answers.

A spirograph is a toy that uses gears and geometry to create beautiful spiralling designs. In this lesson, learners will explore how to use Turtle, a Python module.

  • Familiarize yourself with Trinket
  • Go through the self-guided tutorial yourself
  • Have learners use Spirographs to draw on paper and get an idea of what they will create digitally in this lesson
  • Optionally, learners can log into Trinket using their Google, Clever or Edmodo accounts to save and access their programs easily

  1. Introduce Trinket to the class (closed captions at video in link):
  2. Show learners an example of what they'll be building:

    Ask what they notice about said project. Continue to ask guiding questions if you are lacking details: What changes do you notice as the project progresses? How long does it last?

    Breaking the example down into smaller chunks will help guide learners as they create their own projects later. 

  3. Complete the spirograph project. You may guide the learners through the project using this solution sheet or have them complete the self-directed Trinket tutorial.

Learning Outcomes

I can create algorithms in Python
I can test, experiment, and refine my code when solving a problem
I can use variables and arrays (lists) to store data
I can use loops to repeat instructions in code
I can solve problems with my code by debugging it

Assessment Ideas

Ask learners to add comments to their code, explaining each line to demonstrate their understanding.

Have learners complete a copy of this Google Form self-evaluation.

Determine how you will access learners’ work in Trinket. Some options are: Sign up for Trinket Connect, have learners email links to their work or gather links in Google Docs.

  • Have learners add more instructions to the looping code to make a more complex design.
  • Instruct learners to try and draw a particular shape with their Turtles
  • Have learners create a design with a Spirograph and then try to recreate that design using Turtle.

Teach lessons that are tied to your existing curriculum!


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    The K-12 Computer Science Framework

    Although learning how to build digital projects is a key part of Computer Science education, students should also learn a wider set of skills and competencies that will help them to harness the power of digital technologies as both creators and consumers. A comprehensive approach to K-12 Computer Science education includes learning about the following five focus areas:

    View Framework ➝


    By the end of high school, students should be able to create a simple computer program.

    Computing and Networks

    By the end of high school, students should understand and be able to use the tools and devices commonly used to build digital projects.


    By the end of high school, students should be able to explain how we use computers to create, store, organize, and analyze data.

    Technology and Society

    By the end of high school, students should be able to explore the ways in which technology and society have mutually shaped each other.


    By the end of high school, students should be able to apply design principles to the digital projects they create.