Makers Club - Range Finder Lesson 3 – 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


In this lesson, students will explore other uses of motion sensors and use the range finder sensor in combination with PiperCode: Security Zone to create their own sensor alarm and learn to graph results.






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


Develop programs with sequences and simple loops, to express ideas or address a problem.


Graph, compare, and predict proportional relationships while interpreting the unit rate as the slope of graphs.



Explore how to make and read graphs by creating their own story in PiperCode.



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 as they relate to waveforms, measuring object motion, prediction, and solving word problems involving speed and time.

    • Review PiperCode Security Alarm.

  • Make sure Piper battery packs are charged before use


Teacher-led Discussion (5 minutes)

Use slides 1-4 in the Lesson 3 Slide Deck to help students investigate current sensor alarms available on Amazon.


Provide students with samples of sensor alarms or have them look for them in a reliable search engine. Have them consider why and when this type of alarm would be useful. Students can think-pair-share or have an open class discussion.


Guiding Questions:

  • How do you think this alarm works?
  • What are some advantages of using this type of alarm?
  • What are some limitations when using this type of alarm?
  • When would this alarm be useful?

Explore: PiperCode Project: Security Zone (30-40 minutes)

Have students complete the PiperCode project Security Zone. During this PiperCode Project, students will code their own sensor alarm using the Range Finder and the Piper Computer Kit. Before they begin, show students slides 3 and 4 in the Lesson 3 Slide Deck to remind students about wiring troubleshooting.


Have students record their responses to the Discussion Questions found in the tutorial as they complete the project on this graphic organizer.


Discussion Questions from the Tutorial for teacher reference:

  • Step 3: What would be different if we used inches? (Have rulers available to help students visualize the difference between the units and estimate distance.)
  • Step 6: How does setting the Range Finder value to 20 affect the output? What would be different if the value were 5?
  • Step 11: How would the alarm change if you used the unit inches?

Explain (10-15 Minutes)

Have students use the graphs they created on their graphic organizers for the explanation.


Use slide 5 to review the different graphs created by each group. Through this explanation, students should touch on their responses to the discussion questions.


Apply: The different uses for range finders.

Students learned of echolocation in Lesson 2. Lesson 3 is the technological application of this concept.


Sonar is one application that helps submarines “see” when below the water. Students can learn more about this by reading this article. Have them write a reflection in their journals.


Closing/Reflection Activity (10-15 Minutes)

Have students respond to these writing prompts:

  • How would you use your sensor alarm at home?
  • What distance would you set your alarm to detect? Explain why you would use that distance. Pay attention to units!

Have students complete this summative assessment to demonstrate their understanding of the lesson.