Back in May, I wrote about Piper Computer and its simplicity in bringing Rasberry Pi to students. I loved the entire process of building and using the original Piper Computer. Today, Piper is releasing the Piper Sensor Explorer, an extensive software update for the Piper Computer Kit and the new Piper Protection Plan.

The new Piper Sensor Explorer includes a Color Sensor, an Ultrasonic Range Finder, and a Temperature Sensor. The new software update, available now for all Piper Computers as over-the-air updates, unlocks new worlds, challenges, and adventures in Piper’s StoryMode.

In the new color sensor module, kids can explore RGB values by scanning colors with the sensor in the physical world and detecting the color on the screen in the digital world. The software includes one level in Piper’s Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft, StoryMode, that models color vision and how the eye detects specific colors. By using the sensor, kids discover how an eye sees colors with cones as a metaphor for how computers read RGB. Kids solve color puzzles to advance to the next level and learn how RGB values reflect back a particular color hue.

The new One Ultrasonic Range Finder sensor is included in the Sensor Explorer box. In StoryMode, students travel to the new world Post No. 34 ½ where they learn about measuring distance. Kids must solve puzzles related to rates by measuring the correct distance with the Ultrasonic Range Finder.

The Temperature Sensor helps kids understand real-world science concepts of phase changes including condensation, freezing, evaporation, and melting. Through the software, kids learn how parts of the water cycle can affect the environment with the ultimate lesson, interfering with the environment has consequences.

Piper Sensor Kit

“Piper aims to prepare kids for the digital future with real-world problem solving and scaffolded challenges,” said Melissa Belardi, Chief Academic Officer of Piper. “With our new Piper Sensor Explorer, and its accompanying feature-rich software update, we are emphasizing the ‘S’ in STEAM by allowing kids to collect data, explore scientific concepts and practice design thinking by creating their own devices. With this launch, kids expand their knowledge and skills around what is possible to accelerate curiosity, creativity, and creation with technology.”

The Piper Sensor kit is a $49 add-on. The new Piper Protection plan includes both the Piper Computer Kit 2 and Sensor Explorer for $49.

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