Walker_Race_Educator_Guide – Piper


In this mission, code a recurring loop to make Walker race back and forth to the beat of your favorite song. Walker Race is part of the Robotics Expedition on make.playpiper.com.  


1 hr

Ages 8+

Things you will need for the Walker Race Mission

Piper Make Starter Kit and Computer using a Chrome Browser

Piper Make Robotic Walker

Learning Goals

1. Understand the structure of a blueprint and how to read one accurately to build the desired object/robot/etc successfully.

Soft Skills

  • Understanding the flow of reading a blueprint & how it can differ from other sets of instructions that students may be used to.
  • Attention to detail and precision, which is necessary to build the robot correctly the first time (i.e., putting specific parts before others, not overtightening, etc.)
  • Allows students to work on fine motor skills naturally with a satisfying conclusion.

Collaboration & Team Building

  • Working in pairs, one student will inevitably take the lead, while the other will follow their lead. This gives students exposure to these unique roles in a natural, organic setting.  


2. Understand the role of each wiring component: Voltage (5V in this case), ground, the job of the resistor, and the purpose of connecting wires to the 0 & 1 slot.

Soft Skills

  • Allows students to continue working on fine motor skills by using hand tools and hardware they may not have exposure to at home or school.
  • Learn how to use hand tools correctly: right tightens a screw/bolt, left loosens a screw/bolt, and what it means to turn something clockwise and counterclockwise.

21st Century Skills

  • Learn about electronics, closing a circuit, and how signals transmit via electricity. Students will understand how to calibrate a device or machine before extended use.

Soft Skills & 21st Century Skills

  • Understand how the different legs carry different charges, which means requires accuracy and attention to detail for success.


3. Understand the following vocabulary and how they are similar/contrast: function, logic, loops, variable.

4. What exactly is an angle, and how it changes the trajectory of an object when modified?

ELA / Math / ELD Activities

  • Math standards: Pair students up or allow them to choose their partners.


    • Partner A will be rotating. Partner B will be in charge of rotating Partner A. They will eventually switch roles.
    • Connect back to the Walker Race activity and ask them to describe an angle in their own words. Collect these descriptions on the board or a doc to display.
    • Start students by rotating their partners with easy-to-use angles, 45, 90, 180, 360.
    • Switch roles and move on to angles that are more difficult to work with, such as 30, 60, 120, 150, etc.
    • Observe how students have rotated their partners each time and ask them to explain their reasoning.
    • Finally, ask students to decide which role they want, the rotating partner or the one doing the rotating.
    • Have one last session to help students understand how angles work.



  • ELA standards: Have students work independently to write a one, three, or five-paragraph story about their robot entering a race competition based on grade-level standards. Please reference the lesson plan guide for more in-depth instructions per grade level.


    • Also, create a unique writing situation by randomly choosing students to have their robot win or lose, allowing them to write about a situation they may not be used to or find difficult.
    • They should incorporate each vocabulary word: function, logic, loops, and variable.
    • Have students include details: their robot's name, where the competition is happening, etc.
    • If students are inspired and want to write beyond one paragraph, let them run wild!
    • Ask students to share their stories with two other students for feedback and make the appropriate changes.
    • Add a dash of art into this activity by giving the option to draw their robot during the dancing competition, winning, losing, etc.


  • ELD standards: Pair students up so one EL works with someone EO or a higher level EL. Please reference the lesson plan guide for more in-depth instructions per grade level.


    • They will start by sharing with their partner via an oral retelling of a time they either won or lost, which should differ from the story they wrote about.
    • The teacher or students can decide which story to tell: a loss or a win.
    • The listening partner will need to take notes to remember key moments of the story and work towards retelling it as accurately as possible.
    • Students will then go up in pairs to retell their partner's story, with the partner grading them on how accurate they were.

Career Connections

Robotics Technician: Salary $60,570/yr

Automotive Engineer: Salary $95,300/yr

Civil Engineer: Salary $88,050/yr

Industrial Designer: Salary $75,910/yr

Standards Alignment

CSK12 Framework

  • CA 3-5.AP.17. Test and debug a program to ensure it accomplishes the intendedtask.
  • CA 3-5.CS.2. Demonstrate how computer hardware and software work together as a system to accomplish tasks.
  • CA 3-5.CS.3. Determine potential solutions to solve simple hardware and software problems using common troubleshooting strategies.



  • Grade 3: writing applications-2.1, 2.2;
  • Written and Oral English Language Conventions - 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.7, 1.8
  • Grade 4: writing strategies-1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.10, Writing applications - 2.1
  • Grade 5: Writing strategies-1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6; writing applications - 2.1


  • Grade 3: ELD.PI.A.3.1, ELD.PI.A.3.2, ELD.PI.B.3.5, ELD.PI.B.3.6, ELD.PI.C.3.10, ELD.PII.C.3.6
  • Grade 4: ELD.PI.A.4.1, ELD.PI.A.4.2, ELD.PI.B.4.5, ELD.PI.B.4.6, ELD.PI.C.4.10,ELD.PII.C.4.6
  • Grade 5: ELD.PI.A.5.1, ELD.PI.A.5.2, ELD.PI.B.5.5, ELD.PI.B.5.6, ELD.PI.C.5.10, ELD.PII.C.5.6

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Align the servos (see image below).
  • If the Walker doesn't move in a straight line or tips over easily then the student didn't install the horns at the center of the servos rotation. They will need to adjust this. Legs should be centered on the body when it's at the middle of it's rotation.
  • When mounting the servos, make sure that each servo is positioned so that the motors are furthest apart (see image below).

Hardware Diagram

Final Code

Tutorial Steps

Walker Blueprint


Visit the product support page for Piper Make Robotic Walker via the link below or email hi@playpiper.com