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  9. Speech Command
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  8. Rover Sensor Steering

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  1. Security Zone
  2. Ultrasonic Drum
  3. Resistor Piano
  4. Ther-Mood-Stat
  5. Color Coded
  6. Pulse

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  2. Car Race
  3. Motion Ball

  1. Solar House
  2. Soil Sensor
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  2. Light Show Animation



Base expedition

Mission 9 of 10

Speech Command


60 mins

Ages 8+

Students will learn basic principles of AI and build a program that responds to voice commands. Additionally, students will use the Pico to build a circuit that will illuminate LED's based on AI interaction.

Piperbot and Pip have recovered tools from their previous adventure in Speak Like a Machine. Now they are back at their ship and Piperbot realizes that they can use the tools to repair the fabricator and get PAL, the ships AI assistant, back up and running to make the final parts required to begin their exploration of Mars.

View student interface at




Computer with USB port and Chrome or Edge browser
Piper Make Base Station or Starter Kit


Learning Goals

At the end of this lesson, students will:
  1. Have a foundational understanding of Artificial Intelligence
  2. Understand the basics of an AI model
  3. Understand how the computer uses sensors to mimic senses
  4. Understand the concepts behind the in the following sections of Big Idea 1 – Perception
    1. 1 – A - i Living Things
    2. 1 – A – ii Computer Sensors
    3. 1 – B- i Sensing vs Perception

Learning Activities

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

Grades 3-5
Learning Objective: Illustrate how computer sensing differs from human sensing.

ELA Extension: Piperbot, How Do You see? Write a short story about Piperbot and Pip discussing how each senses the world around them. What senses does Pip, a mouse have? What senses does Piperbot, a robot have? How are they the same? How are they different? Students can choose 1 or more senses to write about from the table below.

Sense Pip (Mouse) Piperbot (Robot)
Seeing Eyes Camera, Color Sensor
Hearing Ears Microphone
Tasting Tongue -
Smelling Nose -
Feeling Skin, muscles Buttons
Sensing Distance none Ultrasonic sensor

ELA Extension: I, Robot, Spy Alternatively, students can roleplay “I Spy” in pairs where 1 student is Pip and 1 student is Piperbot.

Students should start the conversation with sentence stems similar to those below: I’m a mouse and I can see something blue (object in room) with my eyes (sensor or sense organ). Do you see it?

The second student looks for the object and responds.
I’m a robot and I found something blue (object in room) with my camera (sensor or sense organ)!

Students can repeat the process with other senses, such as hearing something in the room.

Adaptation for ELD activities: Pair an EL student with a higher level EL student or a non-EL student.

ELD Adaptation: Robot Vocabulary Quiz Game Use the completed build and program for Speech Command for this activity. Update the word “go” to “yes” and the word “stop” to “no” in the code.

Pair students up to quiz each other. Have 1 student read the parts of the Piper Make Kit from the table below. The second student points to the named part. The 1st student will say clearly “Yes” or “No” to indicate if the answer was correct or incorrect. The Green LED should flash on for correct answers and the Red LED for incorrect answers.


  1. Red LED (light emitting diode)
  2. Green LED (light emitting diode)
  3. Breadboard
  4. Resistor
  5. Pico
  6. Jumper Wire
  7. USB cord
  8. Built-in LED
  9. Microphone
  10. Camera

Grades 6-8
Learning Objective: Give examples of how intelligent agents combine information from multiple sensors.

ELA Extension: Sensor Presentation Choose from one of the following technologies and research what sensors it uses. Create a short slide presentation to highlight at least 5 types of sensors used. How do the sensors work together to perceive the robot’s environment? Describe the challenges and benefits of using sensors in this technology.

  1. Self-driving car
  2. Delivery drone
  3. Domino's delivery robot
  4. Roomba vacuum
  5. Firefighting robot
  6. Water rescue robot
  7. Pip and Piperbot’s Space shuttle
  8. DaVinci surgical robot
  9. Automower

ELD Adaptation: Self-driving Car or Robot Vacuum Presentation Have students create a slideshow presentation for either the Self-driving car or Robot Vacuum.

Give students the list of of sensors below and have them find pictures of each to put in their presentation. As language skills allow, students should add a short description of each sensor.


  • Radar - monitor other vehicles’ positions
  • Video camera - see traffic signals, signs, vehicles, people
  • Lidar - detect light to measure distances and road edges
  • GPS - sense position on Earth
  • Accelerometer - sense speed and acceleration


  • Infrared - motion detection
  • Photocell - light sensor
  • Cliff sensor - detects if robot is at an edge where it will fall
  • Accelerometer - sense speed and acceleration

Career Connections

Software Developer: Salary $127,260/yr
Electrical Engineer: Salary $103,320/yr
Data Scientist: Salary $103,500/yr
Construction Manager: Salary $101,480/yr

Hardware Diagram

Code Diagram

Tutorial Steps



Troubleshooting Tips

If the microphone isn’t working, here are a few suggestions to help!

  • Refresh the page and try again to see if the microphone loads.
  • Ensure the correct microphone is selected in your settings if more than one microphone is being used by the computer.

Activating microphones on a Chromebook:

Step 1: Locate the Command Panel First, find the clock on your screen, then click to see more options. This is like checking our spaceship's dashboard. Click on the settings gear, our control panel, to adjust our settings.

Step 2: Navigate to Sound Settings In the control panel's search bar, type "sound" to find our audio settings. It's like tuning into the right frequency. Select “Sound” from the options. This is where we control what we hear and how we speak to the computer.

Step 3: Connect to the Microphone Find "Input" to see our microphone options. It's important for PAL to hear us. Make sure the right microphone is selected. If there's more than one, pick the one you want to use.

Step 4: Test the Communication Line Look for a volume meter under "Input." This shows if our microphone is catching our voice. Say "Hello, PAL!" and watch the meter. If it moves, our microphone is working!

Step 5: If the microphone doesn't respond, check its connection. It might need a better link to our system. Make sure it's not on mute. We don't want to block our messages to PAL!

Our customer support specialists are on hand to ensure your implementation of Piper runs seamlessly.
View Support Docs or Contact Support
  • Google Teachable Machine
    A fast, easy way to create machine learning models for your sites, apps, and more – no expertise or coding required.
  • The Artificial Intelligence (AI) for K-12 initiative
    The initiative is developing national guidelines for AI education for K-12, an online, curated resource Directory to facilitate AI instruction, and a community of practitioners, researchers, resource and tool developers focused on the AI for K-12 audience. Speech Command supports Big Idea 1 - Perception of the AIK12 Guidelines.

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Standards Alignment