Decorating with Synonyms and Antonyms Using Scratch and MaKey-MaKey

Friday, December 4, 2015

Early this week I worked with some 2nd graders who had been learning about synonyms and antonyms. Two weeks ago we did a fun whole group lesson to introduce the topic and on Monday the teacher and I decided to step it up a level and add a holiday flare!  

I met with a small group to "test out" this lesson idea. The children in the pictures were two students who really grasped the concept so they are going to help me teach the rest of the class the next time I am at their school!

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First, we used Scratch to program a Christmas tree sprite (character) that we added to a holiday background to dance when synonyms were selected and to turn upside down when antonyms were selected. To tell you the truth, when I sat down prior to this lesson to work out the logistics, IIIIII even had a hard time figuring out the sequence to program the tree to move the way I wanted it to. After I prompted the students to work with a partner to experiment with the code to see what they could come up with, I gave them some time to work on their own code. Eventually I had to provide some assistance and talk them through the steps. This was a hard task for 2nd graders but they did it!

Before we started decorating the tree, the students needed to finish their Scratch program by recording their voices saying "Synonyms" and  "Antonyms".

 photo IMG_3504_zps9utqzlyd.jpg Next, I explained the concept of a MaKey-MaKey (click HERE to take you to a guest post I wrote for Free Technology for Teachers this past year about this tool) and each student wrapped a Christmas ball ornament with tinfoil. Since most Christmas ornaments/balls are made of glass, they aren't conductors so we had to get creative by wrapping them with tinfoil :)  

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Then the students used sticky labels to write pairs of words that represented synonyms and antonyms.         
 photo IMG_3507_zpsz8xajodz.jpg They "decorated" the tree with their words. Each ornament had either a pair of synonyms or pair of antonyms attached.  The last step really tested their problem solving skills as they hooked up the MaKey-MaKey to the laptop, connected the wires to the ornaments and matched up the Scratch program with the MaKey-MaKey cords that attached to either an ornament that had synonyms or antonyms. Whew!     

 photo IMG_3508_zps9su0qrq4.jpgThe kids had a blast testing out their creation.          
 Here is what Ari and Makiyah programmed in Scratch (press the green flag and then click either the space bar or some of the arrow keys):
 Way to go, 2nd graders!   

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