G-W fifth graders Makey Makey game controllers

STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics

Students in all four elementary buildings have been learning about different careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

In Glen-Worden’s iOPAL program, fifth graders got an opportunity to explore a career in video game designing with Library Media Specialist Maureen Palleschi.

The lesson is a part of the iOPAL curriculum which focuses on the design thinking process – an educational approach to respond to a set of STEAM-based challenges.

G-W fifth graders were tasked with creating a game controller that works with a Makey Makey kit, and the results were impressive. Makey Makey is an invention kit that is designed to connect everyday objects to computer keys. It’s a brilliant twist on the concept of circuitry, as it allows students to transform everyday objects into interactive touchpads.

For this challenge, students designed a game controller using Makey Makeythat they could then use to play a chase gamethat they would create using Scratch Code.

student testing a video game footpad he createdThe students tested different objects to see which would work best with Makey Makey, and then began to create their controllers. Some students designed a typical looking controller, joystick, or foot gamepad while others opted for more unconventional looking objects.

Once their controllers were complete, they connected them and began to test them out. The excitement in the room was palpable as they discovered how their controllers interacted with Scratch Code. They were able to modify and refine their controllers until they were completely satisfied with their designs.

Finally, it was time to put their controllers to the test with the chase game they had created. It was clear that the students had not only learned a lot about STEAM, but they also learned how fun the process is. The iOPAL program continues to provide innovative and engaging opportunities for students to explore their creativity and learn new skills, and this lesson was no exception.