Interactive SEVs (Space Exploration Vehicles)

About: Currently the Lower School Science Specialist at St. Mark's School of Texas in Dallas. Hired to create a hands-on, minds-in, engaging science program for 1st - 4th grade students.

How to create interactive displays


Makey Makey Classic, aluminum foil, craft stick, copper tape, laptop computer, Scratch account

Step 1: Assign Students to Create an Object to Display

As part of our 3rd grade science unit on space, our science teacher assigns the students to research something found in outer space (planet, moon, asteroid, galaxy, etc.). After that, she has them design a SEV (space exploration vehicle) on paper, following the design process. When there design is approved, the students start to create it using recyclable materials. Once the SEVs are made, they are spray painted and highlighted with parts from old electronic pieces from taken-apart computers.

Educator Tip:

This could be done with any "making" project like a statue.

Step 2: Plan Your Interaction

On paper, students decide on 3 areas of their SEV that they want to be interactive. They then write out what they want to happen at each of those areas. For example, if they may want the solar panel to be interactive so when you touch it, a picture of a solar panel in space comes on the screen and you hear their voice say, "This is a solar panel. It takes light energy from the sun and turns it into electric energy to run the electronics in this SEV." This is a story board for each area, including what will be on the screen and what sounds will be heard.

Educator Tip:

If your students haven't been introduced to Scratch before this, now is a good time.

Step 3: Write Your Scratch Program

Taking their story board, they sit down at a computer and write a Scratch program that will show all 3 of their ideas, one at a time, when a certain key is touched.

Step 4: Prep the SEV

Next the students take pieces of copper tape and place them on the area that they want to be interactive. Then they attach one end of an alligator clipped wire to the unattached end of the copper tape.

Step 5: Attach to the MakeyMakey

Now you attach the MakeyMakey to the SEV with the alligator clipped wires, connect the MakeyMakey to the computer and your interactive SEV is ready to display.

Educator Tip:

If your class hasn't used MakeyMakey yet, this is a good time to introduce them and let them play with them a bit.



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