Our Singing Garden

Techkid recently had an amazing opportunity to learn how to make flowers sing when you touch them! Lucie deLaBruere, who teaches educators about maker spaces, visited our class and taught us the basics in one morning! So what did we learn?

Physical Coding:
First we learned how code and coding works by coding the musical scales. Students simulated a computer coded to sing do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti, do using command cards.

Coding With Scratch
Next we logged into a class Scratch account. Groups learned how to use three main commands: Events, Controls and Sounds. Students started with Events like when space key pressed and Controls like wait, repeat & forever with Sounds available in Scratch.  Groups coded the same scale in Scratch they did as a group with command cards.

MakeyMakey:
Our next step was to explore with MakeyMakey.  MakeyMakey is a simple circuit board connected to a computer with a USB cord.  MakeyMakey can be connected to anything conductive and replaces simple keyboard commands like clicking the space bar and using directional arrows. Alligator clips are attached to any conductive material (like flowers) and when the ground and the item are touched, it’s as if the key was tapped on the keyboard.  As you can see below, we had to debug our code and make sure our connections completed a circuit for it to work. We wondered: How can this help make a garden sing?

Putting it All Together:
Finally, we used the code we created in Scratch with the MakeyMakey connected to our flowers to make them “sing.” We coded a different sound for each key (space bar and directional arrows) and connected the MakeyMakey up to several flowers with alligator clips.  Then when we held the ground wire and touched a flower, it played the code from Scratch and a specific sound.  Techkids were eager to share their singing plants with Mrs. Benay!

Maker Faire Display:
A group of students then volunteered to create an Interactive Harvest display for the Champlain Maker Faire at Shelburne Farms.  We used hay bales, mums, pumpkins and a skeleton for our display.  Tucker, Allison, Aunika, Ashley, Ben, Kaden, Sydney, Soniya & Hannah worked with Lucie several afternoons planning, coding, wiring, trouble shooting and debugging their code.

We were proud to display our Interactive Harvest display at Open House and at our local maker faire! It was amazing watching Techkids explain their project to faire goers!  Everyone that visited was shocked to learn that 5th graders could do such a complex project.

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