Sunday, July 21, 2024
Coin Operated

Coin Operated

by Mark Warner
0 comment
Ages: 5-11
Contributor: Sam Collins

A young boy takes a ride on a coin-operated spaceship and is set on a path to make his dreams come true.

Enjoy this short animated film and then try some of the teaching and activity ideas below.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Write some dialogue between the boy and his mother for the section from 0:52 to 1:14.
  • Tell the story from the point of view of the main character when he is an old man.
  • Make a class collection of books about space, like Man on the Moon by Simon Bartram and Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort.
  • Stop the video at 0:36 when the boy spots the ride. Collect vocabulary to describe how he is feeling. Repeat, this time stopping at 1:30. Compare the vocabulary you have generated.
  • Write an advertisement for the ride. What kind of persuasive language could you use?
  • Write a diary entry from the point of view of the boy.
  • Stop the film at 4:38. Create a social media post to go with this image.
  • Make a poster for the lemonade stand.
  • Suggest an alternative title for the film.


  • Give the children small piles of coins of the same denomination. Ask them to estimate how much the coins are worth, then count them and see how near they were.
  • Write a business plan for a lemonade stall. Include how much the lemons, sugar and cups cost to buy, and how much the lemonade sells for.


  • Watch the film and jot down how the main character changes as he gets older. Have a class discussion about how our bodies change throughout our lives.
  • Create a presentation about how spacecraft fly. This page from NASA is great for research.


Design Technology

  • Make some real lemonade (adult supervision required).
  • Design a space helmet.
  • Invent a new coin-operated ride.


  • Show the children some images of similar spaceships to the film, for example, this Dan Dare spaceship from the 1960s or Thunderbird 3. Can they see any similarities and differences? Can they draw their own in a similar style?


  • Listen to music a short section of the music, for example, from 0:31 to 0:52. What effect does the music have? How does it help to tell the story?
  • Listen to some music inspired by space. This Classic FM page has some great suggestions for classical pieces.
  • Compose your own soundtrack for the film.


Physical Education

  • Create a dance to some of the music from the film.


  • Learn some vocabulary to talk about space travel in the language you are learning.


  • One of the themes of the film is dreams and ambitions. Have a discussion about these; how do you think he felt when he fulfilled his ambition?
  • Have a class discussion: if you had a spaceship, where would you go?

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