Fifth-grade scientists are busy investigating microorganisms and practicing their coding skills in our Microbes and Makey Makey project! First, students tested common surfaces, such as the bottom of a shoe, using agar BioPaddles (a petri dish in a sealable tube). We watched the colonies grow, then identified some of the types of bacteria and fungi that are lurking invisibly all around us!
Now, students are using Scratch coding to create a game or story about one of the species they identified and are beginning to build custom game controllers for our games using Makey Makeys, microcontrollers that connect everyday objects to computer keys. Many of the controllers will be built as miniature cell models, so instead of pressing the directional arrow keys to move within the coded game, the player would press on different cell parts, wired up via the Makey Makey, to control the sprite/avatar.
Scratch coding helps students learn math ideas too, as they use the coordinate plane to position sprites on the 'x' and 'y' axes within the coding board and use a circle's 360° to indicate which direction a sprite is pointing. We will also share our games with each other, receive feedback and improve each project by engaging in the engineering design process!