Close menu


  1. Getting Started
  2. Blink
  3. Traffic Light
  4. Reaction Game
  5. Silly Stories
  6. Tally
  7. Guess My Number
  8. Bouncy Numbers
  9. Speak Like A Machine

  1. Security Zone
  2. Ultrasonic Drum
  3. Resistor Piano
  4. Walker Race
  5. Walker Dance
  6. Walker Detect
  7. Runaway Rover
  8. Rover Sensor Steering

  1. Lighthouse
  2. Frog Frenzy
  3. Game Controller
  4. Minecraft Controller

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

  1. Beam Break
  2. Car Race
  3. Motion Ball

  1. Solar House
  2. Soil Sensor
  3. Air Guitar

  1. Light Show
  2. Light Show Animation
  3. Pipercraft City
  4. Party Lights



Design expedition

Mission 2 of 4

Light Show Animation


1 hour

Ages 8+

Learn how to use light show bitmaps in a sequence to create an animation like those used in films or cybersecurity.

Piperbot and Pip are trying to say hello to the Master Maker’s City! Write a scrolling message with your Light Show, and create interesting animations that, when looped, create animations and motion with lights.

View student interface at





Computer with USB port and Chrome or Edge browser
Piper Make Starter Kit
Piper Make Light Show


Learning Goals

  1. Students will learn how to create an illusion of movement by displaying bitmaps in a sequence. 
  2. Students will learn the principles of animation: 
  3. Students will reinforce their knowledge of wait times in programming and how they affect movement, speed, and frame rate.  

Learning Activities

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

Cybersecurity Extension: Secret Message

Create a secret message using bitmaps and send it to someone else.  

  • Student A will build code with their Light Show and then send it via Google Drive to Student B. Student B can then use the “Import” feature in Creative Mode to upload this code to PiperMake and read it with their own Light Show.  
  • Discuss how this exchange of information is technically end-to-end encryption – as the Light Shows serve as encryption and decryption devices while the intermediate (the PNG code) is technically not readable.  

Hardware Diagram

Code Diagram

Tutorial Steps



Troubleshooting Tips

  • Notice the orientation of the Light Show LED Matrix Board in the wiring image. Follow the wiring diagram and correctly place the wires, some of which will cross, on the Breadboard. 
  • The color of the Jumper Wires in the diagram may be different from the colors in your kit. Jumper Wires can be used interchangeably. The color does not represent any difference in the Piper Kits. 
  • To change the colors on your Light Show LED Matrix Board, click above or below the text on the Pixel Grid block, and the color choices will appear. 
  • Is the Start button not green? Don’t forget to connect your Pico. 

Our customer support specialists are on hand to ensure your implementation of Piper runs seamlessly.
View Support Docs or Contact Support


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.
Math ELA
  • 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