As we prepare our students for success in 21st century careers, we recognize the critical importance of weaving technology throughout traditional English, history, science and language curriculum.
This integration of technology came into play this fall as our seventh grade science students combined their research on plants with Makey Makey, an invention kit that connects everyday objects to computer programs, and Scratch, a block-based programming language.
Working individually and in groups of two, students created interactive posters relaying various scientific processes: how plants defend themselves, how plants change in fall and winter and how plants obtain nutrients. After answering a set of research questions, they designed their posters to display what they learned through drawings and imagery, using minimal text. Brass fasteners were added to create interactive touchpoints on the posters, when connected to Makey Makey. Then, using Scratch, students wrote code to call up a sound recording or animation that explained the concepts in their poster when a specific key was pressed.
“This project gave students the opportunity to incorporate what they had learned earlier in the year about how circuits work and coding with what they are learning about plants,” said faculty member Heather Lavezzi. “My favorite part was watching the students’ expressions when they watched their project work for the first time.”
Benjamin Carter ’23 enjoyed the project. “I had fun writing the code for my poster,” he said. “My topic was plant defenses and how they work. I studied thorns, poison ivy and how the immune system of tomato plants changes the structure of its leaves so that bugs can’t harm the plant. It was interesting research.”