Clap Sensor: Build a Sound Sensor Using a Pico Cricket

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This activity requires a Pico Cricket (tiny computer). Learners work on designing and building a sound sensor out of household materials, like plastic wrap and cardboard. This will connect with the Pico Cricket to "hear" claps and sounds. Learners then program the Pico Cricket to respond with light, motion, or music. Learn about sound waves, vibration, inputs, outputs, sensors, microcontrollers and programming.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • large, sturdy cardboard box
  • Scrap wood, two larger pieces and maybe some small scraps
  • A large nut and long bolt that fit together
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Aluminum foil
  • Double-sided tape
  • Duct tape
  • Mat Knife
  • Hot melt glue gun and glue
  • Pico Cricket kit with alligator clip sensor
  • Computer


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
    • Technology
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process

Informal Categories

  • Computers
  • Electronics
  • Music


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • hear
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0087813