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Showing posts from August, 2015

Scratch for Experienced Users: Flappy Bat

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Today we made videogames using Scratch, based on the infamous "Flappy Bird" videogame that brought its creators notoriety and established them in the halls of memorable bad game design forever :) We followed a tutorial I created and chose new sprites for our flappy character--many kids chose airplanes, fish, or other animals, and a few chose bats. The end code looks something like this (this is just the code for the bat that flies through the pipes): The final product is supposed to work like this (click on the picture and you'll be taken to the game which you can play): If you'd like to see the kids' projects they are posted here: Pasadena Library Kids' Blog The kids did a great job. Even one child who was not really very experienced with Scratch turned out to be quite sharp and able to follow all the difficult instructions. Despite having a lot of technical difficulties, almost everyone was able to go home with a finished game emailed to them, and a…

Playing a Record Without a Turntable

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Monday's hands-on science program, "The Science Behind Recording Music," challenged tweens to come up with several iterations of a gramophone that could play the sound stored on a vinyl record with only their hands to power it.

First, tweens learned about the history of sound recording and its great inventors, from Leon Scott to Alexander Graham Bell, to Edison to Berliner. I engaged the kids in some fun questions to test their critical thinking skills, like: "How many grooves are on each side of a record?" and "How many times a second would a record turn if it's turning at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute?"

Here are my slides from that presentation:

Science of Recorded Music from AnnMarie Ppl And here is the video I created to give them a sample of what they would be doing:

Then we started spinning records of our own. We made a gramophone out of a tin can, aluminum foil, and a pin, and lowered the pointy end of the pin onto the record while w…