Makey Your Own Exit Ticket or Data Tracker

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Less than 1 hr

About: Computers are going bananas! Use #makeymakey to practice invention literacy and connect the world to your computer.

In this guide, you'll learn how to make your own data tracker by creating multiple switches and a counting system in Scratch. This can be used to track data as you wish. You might create a system for seeing how many students per grade level visit the library, or you might want to see how well your students felt about a concept you just covered in class. This whole guide is inspired from a conversation on Twitter where a teacher wanted to make her own exit ticket system.

I've created two different versions for two types of classrooms. One is a "data tracker" for libraries and the other is an "exit ticket" for classrooms. I've included two ways to code this system in Scratch and two different ways to make switches. Feel free to remix and hack this idea and make it your own!

A special thanks to Mrs. Barr for letting me set up and test the data tracker in her library and Mrs. Schlung for letting me set up and test this exit ticket system in her classroom.

Supplies:

Makey Makey Classic, Makey Makey Inventor Booster Kit, Index cards, Chipboard, Box cutter, Foil, Conductive Fabric tape from Inventor Booster Pack, Gluestick

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Create Variables in Scratch You Want to Track

In Scratch, create a new game, and go to the Data palette and click "Make a variable" to create a variable for each item you want to track.

For the library data tracker, I created a system to track the type of people that come into the library: Students, Teachers, Parents, Mentors, Others. Then the teacher librarian asked me to change the variables to the grade levels: Kinder, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th. (This is something I love about this project, it's so easy to change the variables and track new data everyday!)

For the classroom exit ticket, I created a system to track how well the students learned a concept. The variables I've included are: "Great lesson! I totally get it", "Good lesson. I think I'm good" , "I still have questions" , and "I need more practice."

The best part about creating your own variables is you can make them anything!

Once you've created variables, make sure you've set all the variables to "0" and have each variable show by adding these blocks to a "when the green flag clicked" block.

Educator Tip:
If you are teaching students how to make these, make sure you talk to them about triggering events and setting the variable to zero when starting a game. Ask them questions about creating these variables. Example Questions:

"If you don't set each variable to 0, what do you think will happen?"

"What are other events that might set the variable to 0?"

"How else could you use a variable in a game?" (Hint:This is how you create scoring in Scratch!)

Step 2: Trigger Events: Change Variable by Key Press

In Scratch there are two ways to change the variable by a key press.

For the library data tracker, I'm using a "When key pressed" block (from events) and a "change variable by _" block (from the data palette) to track each library participant. This means that whenever someone presses the right arrow, the data tracker for "1st" will increase by one. When someone presses the left arrow, this trigger will change "2nd" by one. To account for students pressing longer on one of these handmade switches, attach a "wait 1 secs" block. The timing in this block is also adjustable. You might want to adjust to "wait .5 secs", just test it out on your students and change as needed.

For the classroom exit ticket, I'm using if/then statements nestled inside a forever loop. This is similar to the above code, but a little more realistic in terms of programming, all of the events will be triggered by if statements and key sensing. To make Scratch consistently check for this, you need to place all of the "if statements" inside a forever loop and attach it to the "When green flag pressed" block. Also, since this code is still sensitive, you will want to add a "wait 1 sec" variable and adjust it accordingly as your students tap their exit ticket. Without the "wait 1 sec" block, your data tracker will register too many clicks. (See video to view the difference without a "wait 1 sec" block.)

Educator Tip:
This is a fun way to bring coding into the classroom to survey or track real live data! Have students create lunch time polls, favorite character polls, and more!

Here is the Scratch Data Tracker for the library for you or your students to remix and hack.

Here is the Scratch Exit Ticket for the classroom for you or your students to remix and hack.

Lastly, if you want, you can code a multiple choice "quiz" with Javascript for your webpage if you want to also automate accumulating the data in a spreadsheet. In this way, you can create a letter choice quiz that when an answer is pressed, the program will sense which key press and count them the same way the Scratch game does, but you can also go the extra step of having the game put the results into a spreadsheet.

If you are a serious Scratcher, you can also create a data saver in Scratch by using "cloud variables!" Here is the data tracker above with the "save data" tracker already added in Scratch. More info on cloud variables here. Note, beginner Scratchers cannot use cloud variables, and these are universal variables across Scratch games, so if you remix this project, please, please, please create your own cloud variables and insert them into your Scratch code.

Step 3: Create Index Card Switches for Data Tracker

For the library data tracker, I created index card switches.

  • For the main body of each switch, fold an index card in half.
  • To make foil connections sturdy and still clippable, cut strips of index cards and cover them in foil. Use a glue-stick to adhere the foil smoothly to the strip of index card. The thickness of the index card strip also adds a spring to the main body of the index card which allows it to flap open after tapping! (If you wanted, you could use for real pieces of gum still wrapped in original wrapping for this! It would have the same effect and be a cool way to show kids how every day stuff can be inventive materials!)
  • On the top half of the index card, use a glue-stick to attach a small square of foil.
  • Your EARTH connection will be a strip of index card, covered in foil. Your key press connection will also be a strip of index card covered in foil.
  • To make the the switch "tappable" or like a slap switch, connect the foil square on the top of the card to the key press strip with a piece of conductive fabric tape. (The Inventor Booster Kit has conductive fabric tape in it. You can also use copper tape, but make sure the adhesive is conductive.)
  • Connect EARTH on your Makey Makey to your EARTH connection on your freshly made switch.
  • Connect your desired key press on the Makey Makey to the other foil strip on your switch.
  • Tap your switch to see if it works! Does the Makey Makey light up? Good! Does it stay lit up? Uh oh- You've crossed connections somewhere or you need to add some foam tape or something that will keep your switch from staying closed and always making a connection. Remember- debugging is like revising a paper, this type of tinkering to fix and problem solve, will help you further understand the basics of circuitry and electronics!
  • See the switch in action in this video.

Educator Tip:

Kids can create all kinds of inventive switches! Challenge them to make a switch by creating two conductive spots on an index card (or cardboard, paper, etc) that only connect when the user completes the circuit. This is a fun way to learn about circuitry!

Step 4: Create Sturdy Cardboard Switches for Exit Ticket

For the classroom exit ticket, I wanted to make the switches a bit sturdier so they could withstand constant interaction with students.

  • Using a post-it note to measure, cut four rectangles from chipboard for the main body of each switch. Your chipboard should be the height of two post-its and the width of one. (So that when you fold it in half, it is the size of one post-it!)
  • To fold the chipboard, score the halfway mark with a box cutter and then you will be able to fold the chipboard so it looks like a slap switch. Be careful not to score your chipboard too deeply! You want your switch to swing back open and not split apart.)
  • Just like the index card switch, I wanted to make sure the spot where I clipped the alligator clip was sturdy. Therefore, I cut 1/2" strips from cardboard and covered them in foil (using a glue-stick to adhere the foil to the cardboard. Again, a piece of gum in it's original wrapping would also work here!)
  • Since you are using cardboard/chipboard, you will want to hot glue the foil covered strips to the main body of the switch. making sure they do not touch! Once you've made all four switches, use Post-it Notes to draw emojis for each exit ticket.
  • See the video of the switch explanation and Scratch counter here.

Educator Tip:

  • Have students think of visual ways to track different types of data. Maybe make food emojis for lunchtime polls, or draw emotions for characters after reading a book to see if they can gauge the way a character was feeling and then slap these post-its on your exit ticket system to see if your students all agree with the mood of the character. (Or even try to track the mood of a story with this same set up!)
  • The possibilities for classroom tie-ins are endless with this project!

Step 5: Install and Collect Exit Tickets or Data!

Install your switches near a computer, decorate like a bulletin board, or just make slap switches for tracking data. Teach your users how the switches work! If possible, create one strip for EARTH by connecting all EARTH connections across your switches with conductive fabric tape.

For the library data tracker, have patrons choose their status as they enter or exit the library. Place this on the main desk or somewhere highly visible! (1st picture)

For the classroom exit ticket, place your interactive exit ticket by your classroom door or near a classroom computer, and have students rate their feelings about a lesson throughout the day or as they leave the room.

Install your switches near a computer, decorate like a bulletin board, or just make slap switches for tracking data. Teach your users how the switches work! If possible, create one strip for EARTH by connecting all EARTH connections across your switches with conductive fabric tape.
For the library data tracker, have patrons choose their status as they enter or exit the library. Place this on the main desk or somewhere highly visible! (1st picture) For the classroom exit ticket, place your interactive exit ticket by your classroom door or near a classroom computer, and have students rate their feelings about a lesson throughout the day or as they leave the room. Wire up all the keys and plug in the USB cable, now you are ready to Makey Makey!

Educator Tip:

For both installations, I connected all earth connections with conductive fabric tape (available in the Inventor Booster Pack) so there would be less wires and more focus on each switch. Plus, this is how a lot of circuit traces are made in a microcontroller, calculator, etc. Most of the time all of these switches have one common earth (or ground) connection. Just make sure when you do this you don't accidentally get the tape too close to a key press which will accidentally set your counter off.

When I installed the exit ticket in Mrs. Schlung's room, I stayed and taught the kids how the exit ticket worked. I'd had the privilege of teaching these same students how to use Scratch last year, so they thought it was really cool to see the counter function. I explained that if I'd been taught a lesson in force and I still needed help understanding the concept, I could slap the picture of the "meh face," but if I felt like the lesson was spot- on and I really understood it, I could slap the picture of the super smiley face. Then Mrs. Schlung had each student rate their feelings about "force" and they were all feeling confident! Later on the same day, Mrs. Schlung had her students rate their feelings on another concept with the Interactive Exit Ticket. She found her students still needed some more work on the concept and began planning another inquiry. This system a really fun, informal, and practical way to track students' learning throughout the day!

Before leaving, I also taught her students how I made each sprite and how to rename the variables in Scratch. Mrs. Schlung's students are really excited about making this interactive exit ticket more personalized!

Plus, since Mrs. Schlung had the idea of putting the different feelings on a clipboard right next to the exit ticket tracker, it will be super easy to change and update the exit ticket system on a daily basis!

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