Makers Club - Range Finder 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 make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion. Students will learn to set up and use a motion sensor with the Piper Computer. Students will complete the lesson by playing StoryMode: Starlab Mission; Post No. 34 1/2 and use units of distance, time, speed, and frequency to solve puzzles.





Security System Installer

Civil Engineer

Construction Manager

Avionics Technician


This will introduce the motion sensor and how to use this device with the Piper Computer. Students will complete the lesson by playing StoryMode to solve puzzles related to distance, time, and speed.






Understand how waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials


Develop an understanding of how the Range Finder motion sensor works.


Solve puzzles and unit rate problems including those involving unit motion and constant speed.



Use the Piper computer and Sensor for motion and solve puzzles for rate, distance, and time in the StoryMode: StarLab Mission game.



Review lesson resources and components for 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) and student grouping.

Read the resources yourself, and make sure you understand the basics motion, distance, rate, and wavelengths change with distance and time. 

Review grade-level standards in science and math they relate to waveforms, measuring object motion, prediction, and solving word problems involving speed and time.

Review PiperCode Starlab Post No 34 1/2. Note: You may need to go to settings and unlock this level if students are completing lessons in a different order than designed.

Make sure Piper battery packs are charged before using them.


Teacher-led Discussion (5 minutes)

Use slide #2 in the Lesson 1 Slide Deck to guide students through this warmup. Students will be watching a clip from Jumanji. After they watch, have them complete these discussion questions (this can be a Think-Pair-Share activity):

Describe the drumbeat.

  • How did it change throughout the scene?
  • What did the change in beat tell us?
  • What’s another word you would use to describe the beat?

[OPTIONAL] Interactive activity: Have students mimic the beat by clapping.

Discussion questions:

What do they notice about the speed of their claps? (Answer: Clapping gets faster and louder.)

What happens to their hands when the beat quickens? (Answer: Their hands get closer and closer as the beat gets faster.)


Explore: Play StoryMode Level: Post No. 34½ (30-40 minutes)

Students will need their Piper Computer Kit and Piper Sensor Explorer Kit to complete the StoryMode level: Post No. 34½. Have them go to story mode and enter the StarLab Mission. Then choose the Post No. 341/2 level.


Note: You may need to go to the settings and unlock this level if students are completing the lessons in a different order then designed.

As students play the level, have them full in the graphic organizer. This will help guide students through wiring the sensor, describing the sensor, and delegating roles within the group. Students will describe the puzzles they need to solve within the game and describe the rate related to each puzzle.


Explain (10-15 Minutes)

Guiding questions:

What happened to the initial bouncing “ball” block when you hover your hand over the Range Finder?

  • How did you solve each of the puzzles?
  • What was the range finder/sensor measuring?
  • What units did it measure in? Hint: Should have been visible in the top right of the screen
  • What questions do you have?


Students can use their graphic organizer to record their responses. Use slides 3-6 to review.


Apply: The different uses for range finders.

Slide 7 provides students with other applications for rangefinders. If students don’t know where else they’ve seen rangefinders, have them do some research and share out what they found!


Closing/Reflection Activity (10-15 Minutes)

Have students respond to these writing prompts:

  • What are other techniques you use when trying to solve puzzles?
  • What would you do the same or differently the next time you have to solve this type of puzzle?

Have students complete this formative assessment on the Range Finder.