Make!Sense Activities for Music, Science, Physical Education, Invention...


General Notes: Remember that different sensors have different ranges, and keystrokes will vary depending on the different sensors, and which channel the sensor is plugged into.  Use the Make!Sense Scratch Studio example


to show the sensor keystroke outputs.  Or use the Make!Sense Configurator to show keystroke mappings and values in real time, and also to reconfigure keystroke mappings for a Make!Sense board:!how-to-use-the-configurator/c21al


For science experiments you can also use Plot!Sense!plotsense-data-logger/c1qa5


for a more familiar science display of data logging,  Can export data, change sampling rates, track 8 sensors at once, etc.



Musical Projects



Laser Harp: using breakbeam or photocells.  Putting a small straw or electrical tape tube maybe 1/2 inch long will "focus" the light coming into the photocell and make it directional.



Drum vest: taping photocells attached to a vest or jacket (can use the extension cables to get more distance from the board) and using Scratch's drum effects could make this one work



Air Guitar:  Similar with different sounds.  Attach sensors to a cardboard guitar mockup



Stair Piano: using breakbeam sensors (less practical, but fun for a one time demo perhaps)






Gravitational Constant: Using two breakbeams, drop a tennis ball from the top of a door frame, clock its time of fall to the bottom.  s = 1/2 g t-squared so g should be equal to twice the fall distance divided by the time squared


Terminal Velocity vs height of ramp.  Two breakbeams on the table at the bottom of a cardboard ramp, maybe 1 or 2 feet apart.  Ball or toy car rolls down the ramp and the breakbeams clock its velocity.  Graph its velocity relative to the varying height of the ramp.  Deceleration of the ball on a smooth table over that distance should be fairly neglible



Deceleration:  Turn a bicycle upside down on the floor.  Tape a breakbeam to the fork so that it faces the very outside of the front wheel. A small piece of tape folded as a "flag" is added to the outside of the wheel, so that the breakbeam sensor only "sees" that flag.  Simple timing code in Scratch will clock the elapsed time each revolution, and pipe that into a list.  Export the list into Excel and you should see an inverse graph.



Acceleration:  Place several breakbeams along a cardboard ramp, tracking a ball or toy car as it accelerates down the ramp


Pendulum Dynamics: Ball on a string passes a breakbeam sensor.  Vary the length of the string.  Caveat:  because the breakbeam sees the "leading edge" of the ball on the first half of a swing, and the "trailing edge" of the ball on the backswing, the individual timings will alternate between two similar but slightly different readings.  This is a teachable moment.  One solution is to time every other pass.  This can be automated in Scratch code, or just by adding the two adjacent readings together.



Temperature: Using the submersible temp sensor (steel encased black wire) ice water or boiling water can be used.  For air temp, use the thermistor.  Look at room temp differences between floor and ceiling.



Moisture:  Could track the moisture in a plant's soil overnight.  Also rate of evaporation of water from a paper towel or sponge under different circumstances:  fan on one test, no fan on the other; or sun on one test, no sun on the other, inside a window, vs outside the window.



Physical Education



Count pushups.  Use photocell on the floor.


Heartrate before and after exercise


Various resting heart rates of different students in the class: range, average


For fun: heartbeat race with two sensors on different students:



Electronic Talking or Sound Book



A book could be retrofit with sensors so that a reader could touch a spot and hear a sound or voice recording stored in Scratch.



Assistive Technologies



Explore how sensors could be used to let disabled people control a game






Create a physical user interface using sensors and simple construction materials to control a student's favorite game.  Many of the keystrokes might already be in the standard Make!Sense setup (arrow keys, space bar..) but if not, it's easy to customize a board for a particular set of keystrokes to match a game.