All teachers know the importance of data to inform their teaching. Anecdotal data is a great way of assessing students' level of readiness, although, to back up or triangulate that data, having an insight into what the students think can be beneficial too.
This project is a way of gathering data from the students about how they feel post-lesson but can be adapted in many ways to gather other data such as the answer to a question. The mechanism uses a MakeyMakey, Scratch and Excel ... it's very easy to do and to follow too :)
This project really embodies the creative use of technology for a purpose and students can contextualise the lessons they are taught in school. This is an overview of how it will work when completed:
- Student presses a 'button'
- Button tells MakeyMakey to trigger a keyboard key press
- Scratch tallies how many times the assigned keys are pressed
- The teacher exports the data to a .txt file
- Excel uses the data from .txt file and displays it on a graph
- Copper tape (or foil will do)
- MakeyMakey with alligator clips
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Creating the Exit Ticket Mechanism
This mechanism work on the premise that the pressing of a button completes a circuit which triggers the MakeyMakey to trigger a keyboard button press.
Firstly, cut out a piece of cardboard (baseboard) to the desired size of your exit ticket mechanism. You will also need to cut out some extra strips and fold them in half, attaching one half to the baseboard (See picture 1). You can see how the flap will be used as a 'button'. On the underside of each flap, stick a piece of copper tape which goes all the way back over the top of the flap and back down to the baseboard. Connect all of those pieces by running one long piece of copper tape across the baseboard (If this is getting confusing, see picture 2). This means that all of the pieces of tape are now going to be the 'earth'.
Next, we need to put some copper tape on the part of the strip which is attached to the baseplate and run that to the side of the board. The aim here is that when the flap is pushed down, the 'earth' copper tape will connect to the other piece of copper tape which will complete a circuit (see picture/video 3 above).
Time to attach the button cover so the students know what they are pressing. I have used sticky notes with faces (see picture 4) on them but you could use paper, draw numbers, colours etc.
Lastly, attach the MakeyMakey's alligator clips to the copper tape on the baseboard. You will need to have one alligator clip attached to the earth on the MakeyMakey and the earth on the baseboard, the others will go from the base of the strips to button outputs on the MakeyMakey - I have used the arrow buttons in my example (see picture 5).
Step 2: Creating Your Scratch Project
This will guide you through creating your own Scratch project, however, you can also use mine to begin with.
Go to Scratch and create a new project.
Click on Variables, click 'Make a List' and name it Feedback.
Next, add a "When green flag clicked" block from the Event category. Underneath, add 'Delete all of Feedback' followed by four 'add 0 to Feedback'. This will trigger the Feedback list to be cleared and replaced with 0 for four entries. From now on, when you click the green flag, all data will be erased.
Next, you need to trigger the button press from the MakeyMakey to increase one of the values in the list. What this means is that each time a student presses a button, the number will go up by one. See picture 1 above for the code, don't worry about the purple blocks yet, pretend they are not there. It is too difficult to accurately write the code down in text ... but here goes anyway:
Your stack needs to look like this:
- When up arrow key pressed
- replace item 1 of Feedback with ''item 1 of Feedback' + 1'
- wait 0.5 seconds
What that all means:
- When you press the button on your exit ticket which is assigned to the up arrow on the MakeyMakey:
- Change item 1 in the Feedback list to that number + 1. If it was 3, change it to 3+1 (4).
- Wait 0.5 seconds - this ensures that the list only changes by 1 each time. If the student holds it down for more than 0.5 seconds it will go up by 1again.
You will need to right-click on the top of your stack and press duplicate. Duplicate your stack four times and change the key pressed block and the item number for. For example, your second stack might look like this:
Your stack needs to look like this:
- When down arrow key pressed
- replace item 2 of Feedback with ''item 2 of Feedback' + 1
- 'wait 0.5 seconds
Make sure you don't change the +1 at the end!
I mentioned the purple blocks before, in my project, they trigger a change of the background which shows when the project is ready for another button press. Basically, after a button press is recorded the screen goes red for 0.5 seconds before turning green again signalling that it is ready for the next button press.
Step 3: Testing and Exporting Your Data
You can test your project now by plugging in the MakeyMakey with the USB cord or by using the keyboard.
Click the green flag in Scratch then press the arrow keys to populate the list. If all is working as intended, when you press the arrow keys or the assigned buttons on your exit ticket, you should see the numbers in the Feedback list grow by one each time.
Next, you need to export your list. On the list, where you can see the numbers changing, right-click and select export (See picture 1). Save your file somewhere familiar and call it Feedback.
This will export the list values to a .txt file.
You're ready to jump into Excel now!
Step 4: Representing Your Data
PRO TIP: Change your office theme to black and you'll feel like Darth Vader.
In Excel, create a new document, go to Data>Get Data>From File>From Text/CSV and choose the Feedback.txt file which you exported from Scratch (picture 1) then click Load.
You should see a list of numbers in your spreadsheet which are the values in the list from Scratch. Next, click on the Query toolbar, click Edit, click on the little button which has 'ABC' on it (next to where it says Column 1) and change the data type to 'whole number' so it recognizes the data as a number instead of a string (picture 2). Click 'close and load'.
Now make the graph! Select the data in the spreadsheet by clicking and dragging over the appropriate cells, click on the Insert toolbar and choose the appropriate graph type (picture 3).
Wait a second ... what happens if you add more values in Scratch? Will the Excel spreadsheet update? No. To keep it current, go back to the Scratch project, re-export the list and save it under in the same location with the same name. Your computer will ask if you want to replace the existing file, confirm that you do. After that, you have to go to the spreadsheet, select the data, click on the Query toolbar then press refresh (picture 4). Then you should have the updated data in your graph.