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Tinkering In Class

Page history last edited by Josh Burker 1 year, 5 months ago




We are going to explore the idea of tinkering in a classroom environment. Tinkering, to me, is working with something to learn how something works. In this workshop we will be tinkering with microcontrollers, specifically the Makey Makey and the BBC Micro:bit, Scratch, conductive materials, and cardboard. Each of these materials is rich in the breadth of activities into which one can incorporate them. Additionally, they are easy to work with which encourages depth of exploration.




Participant laptops with Scratch Link installed

Makey Makeys, USB cables, alligator clips, jumper wires

BBC Micro:bits, USB cables, Scratch firmware loaded

Hookup wire, 22 gauge

Wire clippers

Conductive copper tape

Aluminum foil


Box cutters

Canary cardboard cutters

Cutting mats

Poster paint


Drop cloth



Hot glue guns

Hot glue sticks

Glue sticks

Packing tape


Your Project



You will be remixing a Scratch minigame project. It has a 3 second countdown and a 3 second timer. That's right, after 3 seconds your minigame should be over! The player has to complete some task in 3 seconds. What are some ideas?


  • Dry a glass with a rag
  • Take a shot on a goal
  • Make a dog sit
  • Move a cat off the rug before it vomits 
  • Dig a hole
  • Jump over a rolling barrel



In addition to programming the minigame, you will use a Makey Makey or a Micro:bit to construct a custom controller. The Makey Makey is useful for transforming conductive material into buttons for your game. The Micro:bit has a built-in accelerometer that can detect physical movement of the Micro:bit as well as built-in buttons. Both microcontrollers make it easy to construct out-of-the-box controllers and games.



Finally, your project should have some kind of enclosure, hence all the cardboard. Will you make a stand up arcade game that a laptop fits in or something equally whimsical? 





BBC Micro:bit battery holder

Scratch Studio

How-to the Makey Makey

There are three starter projects on the Scratch Micro:bit page to tinker with and perhaps remix into your microgame.




What material did you tinker with? And?

How does placing limitations on the scope of the project, like a 3 second minigame, affect your feelings of preparedness for the challenge?

After playing other microgames, what do you wish you had incorporated into your own project?

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