Tidy Bower Scratch Makey Game

I was inspired by Dylan Ryder's week-long integrated project week course at the school where we work. Dylan led students in researching interesting, bizarre, or unique animals, constructing their habitats and creating felted models of the animals. Viewers could interact with and learn about the animals via Scratch projects the students programmed. Some projects even contained LEGO WeDo sensors and motors to make the models move when people approached them, for example.

During our spring break I caught part of "Planet Earth 2" on television, specifically the bowerbird section.

I immediately tweeted at Dylan a premise for a new game, which he named "Tidy Bower." 

Back at work, I constructed a bower from cardboard. I cut many strips of cardboard to form the bower, which I housed in a cardboard box that fit over the screen of a laptop. I lined the sides and top of the box with light blue construction paper. The "floor" of the box was covered with a color printout of a forest floor.

I used a broken headphone as the left controller, a metal washer as the ground, and a piece of brass soldering iron "cleaner" for the right controller. Each were connected to wires poked through the cardboard. The wires are taped to the box. I can clip the wires with alligator clips to a Makey Makey.

The Scratch project is quite simple: diamonds and baubles fall from the top of the screen at two different speeds. When they reach the bottom of the screen they wait for between five and eight seconds before disappearing and deducting a point. Catching a diamond or bauble adds a point.

Ideas for improvement of the Scratch project could include having a potential mate appear and size up the score before deciding to stay or go! Also, there is a bug in how diamonds and baubles will fall from the piles and if the bowerbird is underneath, can quickly rack up points! Have fun and remix the project after building your own bower!