Product Review of Piper
Piper is a build-your-own STEM computer kit. With all the tools provided in the box, kids can follow a blueprint-style set of instructions to fit and fasten the wooden puzzle pieces of the computer together. After building the base, kids connect hardware like a Raspberry Pi computer, speaker, battery, and breadboard. After the computer is fully constructed, kids play through a series of specially created Minecraft levels. In those levels, kids are tasked with adding hardware components (like buttons, switches, and LED lights) to the computer in order to progress through the game. In addition to the game, the computer gives access to the internet, a simple word processor, coding games, and more.
Kids who love to solve puzzles and build things with their hands will feel right at home with Piper. Those who aren’t so inclined will still enjoy the accomplishment that comes with completing a complex task. Kids will learn about circuitry, game design, and computer science, as well as develop problem-solving, critical thinking, and engineering skills. You may struggle to figure out how to implement Piper in your STEM classroom if you don’t have multiple kits. For learners who aren’t as confident with their engineering skills, or for those who demonstrate less interest, pair them up or create teams of no more than three.