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Kindergarten and Grade 5 Students Bring the Rainforest to Life
Posted 03/10/2017 12:41PM

The KB classroom has been transformed into an enchanting, verdant, and interactive rainforest. Kindergartners partnered with their grade 5 buddies on an exciting cross-curricular project - from the classroom to the art room to the Light Lab - to create a one-of-a-kind, artistic, and interactive display board, which provided the backdrop for the KB Rainforest Play, the culmination of many weeks of learning about the ecosystem and inhabitants of the rainforest.

Each KB student, guided by their dedicated, passionate teachers Kristi Kallam and Tanya Muse, created hanging sloths and green-eyed tree frogs to decorate the classroom. They also created all the foliage and the animals, making their board a vibrant work of art! The next stage of the project, working with the Scratch app, brought their rainforest board to the next level - interactivity.

After choosing a rainforest animal to research, KB students worked with their grade 5 buddies to record a rainforest animal fun fact in the Light Lab recording studio. Using Scratch, a program created by MIT’s Media Lab, students performed some computer programming to implement a code that would activate the recording when the touch sensor’s circuit was completed. The touch sensor on each animal was wired to a Makey Makey, a small circuit board that allows for the building of creative circuits with anything conductive.

The Rainforest Board works by using a person in order to complete the circuit. The person touches two squares designated by color (the touch sensor and a grounding button), allowing a small amount of electricity to travel all the way through the path - including through the person - tricking the computer into believing a key was pressed and thus activating the Scratch programming! Sounds complicated, but our Kindergartners and fifth graders worked together to accomplish this outstanding feat, bringing their Rainforest Board to life!

Light Lab Director Brie Daley shares, “It was hard to tell who was more excited about the collaboration - the Kindergartener or the fifth grader! Each child contributed meaningfully to the board, learned new skills, and felt proud of what they created together. I love that the final product teaches those who interact with the board about what the Kindergarten and grade 5 students have learned. There’s an wonderful element of service in making something that’s instructive.”

Check out a video of the Rainforest Project here.
Photos of KB and grade 5 students collaborating on the rainforest board can be seen here.
Photos of the outstanding KB Rainforest Play can be found here.

 

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