Phase 4.1 -Extend StoryMode – Piper


Lesson Time:
45 to 60 minutes



In this lesson, students will extend their understanding of circuitry and electronics by playing MiniGames and Creative Mode. This will be their first chance to think creatively with circuits as their "build power-ups" in the game and have the chance build the world around them in the Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft.





Civil Engineer

Fashion Designer

Advertising Executive

Sound Engineer


The goal of this phase is to empower students to begin elaborating on their first stages of learning in engineering, computer literacy, design, coding, and programming. In this lesson, when they have finished other Story Modes early, students can play further with the STEM concepts first learned by responding to challenges and building new games.

NOTE: MiniGames may be utilized for your faster students who go through the main projects quicker than the other students or teams. Have them play a Mini Game and further practice building electronics. The games can be counted as extra credit or rewards.





Use Story Mode MiniGames to extend their play and learn electronics concepts.



Apply physical science and computer science concepts from the preceding phases.


Foster inclusive computing culture, by engaging learners around their personal interest in computer games.



Determine potential solutions to solve simple hardware and software problems using common troubleshooting strategies.



Demonstrate how computer hardware and software work together as a system to accomplish tasks.


  • Complete the stories and electronic builds yourself for the Mini-Games. 
  • Suggested student to kit ratio is 2:1 up to 3:1. Students are in the same teams as before, or make adjustments as necessary to facilitate good teamwork.

  • Make sure Piper kits are built, connected, functioning, and batteries are charged for the Raspberry Pi and the speaker.

  • Retrieve student team storage boxes with Piper build components.

  • Provide storage devices to teams to hold electronics - such as paper plate or paper cup or plastic box.

  • Plan how much time is left for students to work on the mini games and still meet the goals of completing other lessons.


Introduction (5 minutes)

  1. Introduce the idea of puzzles. Ask students what kinds of puzzles they typically enjoy, mental or tactile. In this lesson, students will be solving a series of small puzzles in order to gain new abilities within the Piper world. You can use slides 1-3 in the 4.1 SLIDES.
  2. As you might have noticed as you played through the Story Mode levels, MiniGames unlocked. MiniGames are represented by moons next to the planets and may be unlocked after completing the main project.
  3. Each mini game consists of building a “power-up” or electronic component using the mini breadboard in your Piper Computer Kit. Instead of solving a challenge and moving to the next level, in MiniGames you may play over and over and try to beat the score or best your last time. These build in complexity, so it is important to do them in sequence from the top of the screen down.

Mini Games (20 - 40 minutes)

  1. Instruct students to play the MiniGames in sequence and follow the instructions to build the electronics for the game. Then pairs play the game together as time permits. Students can track the games they’ve played with the Phase 4 Visual Organizer.
  2. Use the PiperCode Project Quick Guides and the CS and NGSS standards as your reference for generating questions to ask students as you walk the room observing their progress. Example questions:


    • How is the electronics for this one different than the other projects?

    • How do you win or beat the game?

    • How is the game play defined by the wiring of the buttons and devices?

    • What if we moved the lights or button to other spots on the breadboard? What would happen?

    • How would you improve this game?

Phase 4.1 -Extend StoryMode
Phase 4.1 -Extend StoryMode

MiniGame Power-Ups (5 minutes per MiniGame)


  1. At the conclusion of each MiniGame, after students have played the game a couple of times, have students stop for an evaluation before moving on to the next game. Students can track their work on the Phase 4 Visual Organizer.

  2. The mini games may be used as extra credit points. Have students document the games in their Piper Journal. Include a description of the game and a sketch of the circuit created (and optionally pictures taken). They should note any roadblocks and how they troubleshot solutions, or how they might build it differently in the next iteration.

  3. [OPTIONAL]: Evaluate their Piper Journals and teamwork with a rubric (see sample Grading Rubric in Appendix).

  4. Students demonstrate and explain their solution for the circuit built and explain how it affects the game created and their ability to win the game. Provide feedback and praise to each student. Review each minigame using Slides 4-14 in 4.1 SLIDES.

  5. Students take a picture of their control panel and circuits. After completing the games, students take apart any circuits on separate breadboards and return parts to their proper bag in the storage bin.


Exploring Creative Mode (10-15 Minutes)

  1. Have students explore a planet in “Creative Mode”. In this version, students are able to explore the environment without a given goal or problem to solve. Use slide 15 as a visual explanation of the task.

  2. Have students consider what types of challenges they could create using this environment. They could consider limitations that they could impose on players similar to those in the minigames.

  3. Because this version is open-ended, have each group complete a different planet. They can share their ideas for their challenges with the other groups.

  4. Tie the problem solving and persistence actions used in building and playing the games to a growth mindset or 21st Century skills they will need to be an engineer in real life.

Phase 4.1 -Extend StoryMode

Group Summary (10-15 Minutes)

  1. Combine a few teams together in small groups of 4 to 6. Have individuals contribute questions/answers on the topic of user interface in game design and hardware that is used in gaming, giving references to the games they just finished that explored these concepts. Assign peer leaders to either document or summarize their group’s ideas. Slides 16 -17 can be used during this time.

  2. Provide prompts to help them get started:

    • How were we given each puzzle?

    • What tools were we given to solve each puzzle?

    • How did the different tools and abilities help us in the next level?

    • How were we able to explore during “Creative Mode”?

    • Did you learn anything new about the planet? What was it and why did “Creative Mode” allow you to learn this?

    • How did the items on each planet change for you during “Creative Mode”? Why does it change your experience on the planet?

    • What did we feel during each challenge?

    • How can we recreate that emotion for other gamers?

  3. Create Your Own Piper Game Activity:

    • Plan a new Piper Game Extension

    • Who will use your Game Extension? Sketch a user profile of a typical Piper user

    • Develop a new product idea using the same design thinking process the Piper development team takes. Create a Sketch.

    • Plan, design, then create a poster to describe your new Piper extension



Mini-game quick guide

Phase 4.1 -Extend StoryMode