Phase 4.2 -Bot Design and Music Making – Piper


Lesson Time:
45 to 60 minutes



This lesson introduces Design Thinking principles and allows students to explore them by designing their own bot in the Bot Builder MiniGame. Students will also create their own music in the PipHop MiniGame to learn about the engineering for design cycle and how to apply these principles to their goals.





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. Students can play further with the STEM concepts first learned by responding to challenges, by extending to create their own media and designs.





Use Story Mode MiniGames to extend their design skills by creating music, designing their own skin for the bot, creating music or interactive art.



Foster inclusive computing culture, by engaging learners around their personal interest in art, music, and design.


Create artifacts by incorporating smaller portions of existing artifacts, to develop something new or add more advanced features.



Create, test and refine computational artifacts through physical computing.



  • 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 extensions.


Introduction (10-20 Minutes)

  1. Students explore the extension Bot Builder. In this extension, students are able to create the robot of their dreams. Because this is an open-ended project, students can go through multiple iterations of their bot design. Give students a few minutes to play around, and be sure to ask questions related to their choices. For example, you can ask students about the colors they chose and how it could affect their future game experience. Students can record their answers in the Phase 4 Visual Organizer.
  2. Have students share the steps they followed in creating their bots. Possible questions: Did you start with a drawing of your robot? Did you play around with colors? What were the steps to create the robot? How do you think it could be better?

  3. Create a poster of their answers. This will be our initial Design Process, as we will add more steps during the Exploration. Use slides 2-10 to guide student responses.


Activity (90% of class time)

Students explore Pip Hop. See Quick Guides.

This is a good time to ask students about the process they follow in completing the activity.


Sharing Activity (5 Minutes)

Once teams have completed Pip Hop, have them share their process. How does it compare to their experience with Bot Builder?


Connect to Engineering Design Process (10-15 Minutes)

  1. 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.

  2. Combine a few teams together in small groups of 4 to 6. Have teams share the process they followed during both explorations. Assign peer leaders to either document or summarize their group’s ideas. Provide prompts to help them get started:

    • What do we know about it?

    • How do we know that we know it?

    • How did we demonstrate knowledge?

    • What got in the way of learning it?

    • What helped with learning it?

    • How can this knowledge be applied to a real-world engineering problem?


Reflection Activity (5 Minutes)

Have students consider their Design Process Poster. What kinds of updates does it need now that you have done Pip Hop? This poster will be used during Lesson 4.3 and 4.4.



PiperBot can be customized!

After completing the Chain Reaction story mode level, Bot Builder and the skin selection menu are unlocked. Find the icon that looks like a clothes hanger in the upper left for skin selection. The library has some base skin designs to choose from and will save new customized version on the Piper SD card so they are available in this library. To view your customized skin, click the bot button in the menu which will take you into 3rd person mode. 3rd person mode lets the user see Piperbot moving instead of viewing the game from Piperbot’s 1st person view.

Phase 4.2 -Bot Design and Music Making
Phase 4.2 -Bot Design and Music Making


In Bot Builder level you can create your own piperbot skin. To customize a skin, use the color selection palette (pictured to the left) to choose a color and then right click on the piperbot to color the blocks. Exit the level to save your skin. Fly around to get the best angle to select the block on Piperbot to customized. Once a skin is saved, access the saved skins from the bot icon.

Phase 4.2 -Bot Design and Music Making
Phase 4.2 -Bot Design and Music Making


From the map, click on the bot icon in the upper left to go into skin selection menu. Once saved, the skin will be viewable when playing by using third person mode.  


Phase 4.2 -Bot Design and Music Making


Create and listen to your own music on Piper. Pip Hop is a music sequencer where students place blocks to create measures of music and the sequencer will play their custom song! There are two grids, the first grid represents a piano and the second grid is percussion sounds. The vertical axis on the grids are notes in a scale for a piano or different drum sounds for the percussion while the horizontal axis represent eighth notes. Place the blocks and then play the sequencer to hear the music!



Follow the instructions to setup your play and record buttons. Left-click on the music board to pick the note or the sound to play. Press your “play button” on your controller, which should be the small black button on the right side of your breadboard (this should be indicated on the screen after you complete the Piping Mode Challenge), to listen to the song. Press your “record button”, which is the small black button you connected to your breadboard on the left side, to start a recording and then press the button again to save it.



Songs can be accessed by opening the file manager from the desktop, then going into piper/creations/songs/

Phase 4.2 -Bot Design and Music Making