Sequencing for fun

Picture 4

Scratch is a great programming/sequencing environment, intuitive and fun to use. Yet it’s made much more fun with the addition of a pico board.

A pico board is an interface with a load of sensors on it. Scratch can be programmed to read these sensors and their values, and then to take actions dependent on what the readings are. There is a slider, a button, a light sensor, a sound sensor and four other sensors that can read resistance ( so could have many different sensors, home-made or otherwise, attached).

The possibilities are endless. With my usual amount of creativity (zero) and the help of two small children, we managed to design the world’s first sound-operated multi-colour light-sensing etch-a-sketch. We revised the number of degrees in a circle, and the number of times we need to turn to draw a square. We even took in some astrophysics (about 360 days for the earth to go round the sun and it’s nearly a circle, yes?).

Program written, the fun begins.

The slider sensor was programmed to make the sprite move up and down, and if you shouted at it the sound sensor made it move left or right dependent on the slider value (using AND statements). Dimming the light made the colour of the sprite change and also changed the colour of the pen. Presto, a rudimentary etch-a-sketch. And nearly an hour of fun screaming at the computer, finding things out and making things happen.

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