Social Fireflies: Pico "Firefly" Communication

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Make two firefly lanterns, then program them to blink to one another and change colors. Learn to program a Pico Cricket (micro-controller) to communicate with other Pico Crickets using infrared (IR) signals. This activity requires two or more Pico Crickets. This is a programming activity for beginners, and can be taught as an hour to three hour workshop about infrared (IR) communication between micro-controllers.

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 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 or more Pico Cricket kits
  • Frosted plastic cups various sizes
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Pencils
  • Clear tape


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Circuits

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Computers
  • Electronics


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • 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