Makers Club - Color Lesson 1 – Piper


Lesson Time:
45 to 60 minutes



Sensors connected to the Piper Computer Kit provide students with educational hands-on experience that integrates environmental sensory data with unparalleled coding and story adventures.

The Sensor Explorer projects and lessons feature three sensors that you wire up to the Piper Computer. Students will then be guided through character-driven story narratives while using game-like StoryMode to learn how decisions impact final outcomes within three unique StoryMode world puzzles and problems. Coupled with the game experience in StoryMode, students will have fun extending their coding skills using PiperCode while collecting real-world data using the 3 sensors.

This lesson will engage students' prior knowledge about connections between wavelength, frequency, and electromagnetic waves. They will form groups to explore the various types of waves and report findings related to frequency and wavelength of their waveform. Using a master drawing of the electromagnetic spectrum, students will explore how human eyes perceive color in the visible light spectrum and how our atmosphere affects waves.





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This lesson introduces students to key concepts of physical science concepts related to electromagnetic waves. The students will create the foundational knowledge to use three sensors to explore light, sound, and distance (range).





Understand the relationship between wavelength and frequency and how they affect electromagnetic waves



Develop a model of waveforms


Create a master drawing of the electromagnetic spectrum



Develop an understanding of how the earth’s atmosphere reflects, absorbs, or transmits various forms of electromagnetic radiation




- Review lesson components for 5E student and grouping
- Read the resources yourself, and make sure you understand electromagnetic radiation.
- Review grade-level standards and performance expectations related to electromagnetic radiation and waveforms
- Review the slide deck and organizer


Introduction (10-20 minutes)

Provide students with a piece of rope and the lesson’s Graphic Organizer. Have students tape the top of the rope to their desks (or have their partner hold a “fixed" end of the rope). They should leave the bottom part of the rope free to move.

Have students make the end of the rope move up and down using a lot of movement. This should create a wave visually. Ask: “What shape are we creating? Draw your shape on your graphic organizer and describe what you see.”

Ask students to do the same thing, but with less movement. Ask: “Draw the new shape you created. How is this shape different from the one you created with a lot of movement?”

Finally, have them repeat with the least possible movement. Ask: “Draw this new shape on your graphic organizer. How is this shape different from the first two? What do you think this means?”

Have students read the following or explain this to students:

"When we moved the rope up and down, we created a wave. This means that energy is being transferred to the rope. Waves, like matter, have properties that help us predict behavior. The properties we will focus on today are wavelength and frequency."


Use slides 2-4 in the slide deck to introduce wavelength and frequency. Students will be labeling their drawings of the 3 waves on their graphic organizers.


Main Activity (30-40 minutes)

Jigsaw: Put students in groups of 4. Each group will be an expert on a type of wave: radio, microwaves, infrared, and ultraviolet. Assign the specific wave to each expert group and provide them with the guiding questions and criteria below. In the end, they should be prepared to present on their wave:

Guiding questions:

  • What properties do you observe in your wave?

  • How is this wave produced?

  • How does this wave affect other objects?

  • What’s an everyday example of this wave?

Students should include:

  • Name of their wave

  • Drawing of the wave

  • The wavelength and frequency for their wave

  • An example from the real world

NOTE: If you would like to provide students with helpful resources for their exploration, we recommend the following:

(They include links to each type of wave students are responsible for exploring.)

Once those groups are experts, reorganize students into share groups with at least one member from each expert group having researched each of the waves. Each member of the share group will then present what they learned with their expert group to the share group.


Have students record notes from the expert and share group discussions on this graphic organizer.


Explain (10-15 Minutes)

Have students use the drawings they created in their expert groups to create a master drawing of the electromagnetic spectrum. Encourage them not to look it up! Have them collaborate together to create a complete drawing. Slide 5 includes a complete diagram.

Makers Club - Color Lesson 1


Using slides 6-9, review what students discovered about each type of wave. Slides 10-11 introduce the visible light spectrum.

Note: Students will explore how human eyes perceive color to dive deeper into the visible spectrum part of the EM spectrum during the StoryMode exploration in Lesson 2.



Electromagnetic radiation in our atmosphere (5-7 Minutes)

Have students read the following or explain it to them: (also found on slide 12)

“Consider the types of waves we explored. How do you think our atmosphere affects waves? The Earth's atmosphere stops most types of electromagnetic radiation from space from reaching Earth's surface. This illustration shows how far into the atmosphere different parts of the EM spectrum can go before being absorbed. Only portions of radio and visible light reach the surface. Astronomers can observe some infrared wavelengths by putting telescopes on mountain tops.”

Makers Club - Color Lesson 1


[Optional]: students can read the last section (titled: “Why do we put telescopes in orbit?”) in this article and write a reflection in their journals.



Closing/Reflection Activity (10-15 Minutes)

Have students respond to this writing prompt:

- What waves do you deal with in your everyday life?

- How do you interact with these waves?


Use the summative assessment on the different types of waves.