walker_dance_educator_guide – Piper


In this mission, we will learn how to code a recurring loop that makes Walker dance back and forth to the beat of your favorite song.

In the storyline, Walker has won the race and it is time to celebrate and learn how to dance!

Walker Dance is part of the Robotics Expedition on make.playpiper.com.  


1 hr

Ages 8+

Things you will need for the Walker Dance Mission

Piper Make Starter Kit and Computer using a Chrome Browser

Piper Make Robotic Walker

Learning Goals

*Please note, learning goals for Walker Dance are the same as the previous mission Walker Race. If you have already done Walker Race, please skip to the Extensions Section

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

    • 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 for robot to be built correctly the first time, i.e. putting specific parts before others, not overtightening, etc.
      • Allows students to work on fine motor skills in a natural setting with a satisfying conclusion
    • Collaboration and Team Building:
      • Working in pairs, one still student will inevitably take the lead, while the other will follow the lead. This gives students exposure to these unique roles in an organic setting that feel natural

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

    • Soft Skills:
      • Allows students to continue working on fine motor skills in a challenging yet capable way, with an end result that is satisfying and rewarding
    • 21st Century Skills:
      • Learn about electronics, closing a circuit and how signals are transmitted via electricity
    • Soft Skills and 21st Century Skills
      • Understand how the different legs carry different charges, which means accuracy and attention to detail is needed 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.

    • Students will gain a real world understanding & application about how angles work
    • Students will understand trajectory and how it related to the modification of an angle
    • Students will understand the difference between trajectory & rotation
    • Students will understand the need for precision when applying a modification to an angle, thus changing the trajectory

5. How time can be measured as a fraction/decimal to create a “piece of time.”

    • Students will gain a real world understanding and application for for fractions & decimals
    • Students will begin to understand time as a measurable item and that it can be counted as parts of a whole
    • Students will develop and measure their steps, thus creating a custom unit of measurement that they will then begin to make fractions out of
    • Students will naturally add fractions together to complete a whole step of their custom unit of measurement as they complete this activity

ELA / Math / ELD Activities

The following sections will contain step by step instructions for ELA, ELD and Math extensions directly related to the Walker Dance Mission. Adjust the directions to fit your ELA, ELD and Math standards.

ELA Extension: Walker Dance Narrative

    • Have students work independently to write a one, three or five paragraph story about their robot entering a dance competition, based on grade level standards
      • They should incorporate each of the vocabulary words: function, logic, loops, variable
      • Make sure students include details: name of their robot, where is the competition happening, etc.
      • If students are inspired and want to write beyond one paragraph, let them run wild!
      • Make sure students share their story 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 Extension: Let's be DJs! 

    • Pair students up where one EL works with one that is an EO or a higher level EL
      • Introduce the online app BeepBox. This program will run perfectly on the Chrome web browser and will work with any device-Android tablet, iPad, iPhone, Chromebook, etc.
      • Use this tutorial to learn and teach it to your students or have them watch it as a class
      • Have students work on creating a song together
      • Have students work on programming their robot to dance to the beat of their song
      • Have students take turns presenting their song, show off their robot dancing to their song and answer any questions the class may have

Math Extension: Part of a Step 

    • Pair students up or allow them to pick their partners
      • Partner A will be doing the walking, Partner B will be giving commands. They will eventually switch roles
      • Connect back to the Walker Dance activity and ask them to describe what a half step would look like for their Walker
      • They will then begin to figure out what a whole, ¾, ½ and ¼ step will look like for their partner
      • Have Partner B use tape, paper, etc as a marker to begin marking where a natural whole step is for Partner A
      • They will need to start using estimations and measurements to figure out what each of those steps are, which will then become their own unit of measurements
      • Have students use their initials as the symbol, for example Jesus Huerta would be 1JH as a whole step for me, ½ JH for a half step and so on
      • Have students create a chart with their units of measurement and convert them to how many inches they each are
      • Digitize this into google classroom or use a giant piece of paper to display it on the wall for future reference!

Material Library

A servo, which is short for servomotor, is a special kind of motor that is used to control something by moving it. A simple motor moved by spinning continuously. A servo turns to a specific position and it uses gears to transform the high speed of the motor into more force so it can move things more easily.

The servo is connected using three wires: one for ground, one for power, and one for a signal that tells the servo motor what position to turn to. The Pico tells the servo what position to turn to by changing the width of the pulse that it is sending out. A pulse with a shorter "ON" time will turn to one side, and a pulse with a longer "ON" time will turn to the opposite side.

The motor inside of the servo turns very fast, but it is also weak - it cannot apply very much force. The gears inside the servo convert the motor's high speed and low force into a slower speed with more force.

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
  • TBD
  • 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