Farm Field Trip: MaKey MaKey and Scratch Farm Sounds Poster

My four year old son went on his first school field trip today. As is often the case, parents miss out on going on the field trips. That did not stop me and him from creating an interactive poster of his time at the farm.

When he got home from school I asked him if he was up for a project. He was, so I asked him if he could draw pictures of what he saw and heard at the farm.

He had trouble with the goat. I helped him break it down into smaller parts. How many legs does a goat have? How many bodies does it have? How many heads? Did the goat have any horns or its head? How many? He drew a goat and a pig before his attention shifted.

After he tired of drawing, we built some simple buttons. I stuck a long piece of conductive copper tape to the goat and the pig.

He helped me glue some aluminum foil over the copper tape to make bigger buttons.

Right now his farm drawing has two animals and two buttons. There is also a farm building and a tree from a previous drawing, but it fits on the farm.

I helped him record a goat sound and a pig sound in Scratch on his OLPC XO-4 laptop.

We used one of the supplied backgrounds. I took a picture of him in Scratch using his laptop and edited it in Scratch to remove the background.

He chose a pig to be his ground on the MaKey MaKey. A little copper tape on the pig makes it conductive so we can connect it to Earth on the MaKey MaKey.

Maybe he will dream about the farm tonight and draw more animals tomorrow.

This project was a spur of the moment attempt to capture his memories and observations from an important day in his school life. The materials were all on hand, and some were easy enough for a four year old to successfully use, or have help using. Choosing to record his voice rather than use a pre-made animal sound personalized the project and made it fun for Mom and Dad to use, too. If we share it on the Scratch web site, his grandparents could play with it, too. There is still plenty of room on the roll of paper he drew his farm on, so he can continue adding animals and sound effects as he desires.