Light Symphony





Name of Activity

Light Symphony




light sensor, NXT, tone, ambient light, loops, math blocks, sound, inputs, outputs, Engineering Design Process



Grade Level

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+


1 Hour Total

Brief Description

In this activity, students will wire a light sensor to their NXT bricks. Light sensor data

will be collected and used in a program that plays a tone based on the ambient light

in the room.

Lesson Objectives:

– To learn to program using the light sensor, loops, math blocks, and sound.

Materials Needed:

– NXT brick.

– Light sensor.

– Computers running MINDSTORMS NXT software.

Preparation and Set Up:

Set up computers with MINDSTORMS NXT Software.

Arrange students into groups of two.

Distribute necessary materials.

Necessary Background





engineering design process


  1. Have students wire a light sensor to their NXT brick. They may or may not want to attach the light sensor to the brick.
  2. Have students program their NXT bricks
    1. The program should collect light sensor data
    2. The program should take this data and multiply it by a number (It may be good to start with about 10, but students can use trial and error until they find a multiple that creates the music box that they want)
    3. This new number should determine the tone of the note that the NXT brick plays.
    4. Students should add a wait for time block so that their note will play for that amount of before the program loops and the brick plays a new note.

  • To test this program either have students turn their light sensors towards and away from a light source to produce different tones, or change the light levels in the room.
  • Students may have to modify their program and change the multiple in their math block, or change the amount of time between notes. Allow students to test and retest multiple times.
  • Extensions:

    Get students to match the pitch of another NXT brick.


    – This same activity could be done using the proximity sensor attached to a car.

    – Students could program their NXT brick to play a tone depending on how close their car was to an object. This could be related to a safety device that would warn you if your car was going to bump into a wall.

    Reference 1

    Reference 2

    Reference 3

    Leave a comment

    You must be