Small Solutions Big Ideas Connect Kids February vacation program was introducing simple games to our students. Mazes are early games that children play, and also a favorite in the Sugar XO Activities that our students in Kenya have been using for the last 6 years.
On the day the workshop began, I heard a news report about the poaching of forest elephants in the African country of Gabon. Gabon is in West Africa. We looked up the country on Google Earth and found out that forest covered almost two thirds of the land. The forest is thick, and so dense that no one had tracked down the elephants in the forest for many years. The country decided to do an inventory.
The results of the inventory were shocking. The number of forest elephants surviving since the last inventory was about 20%. The forest was full of poachers and they had even established an active gold mine deep in the forest.
We read more about the elephants, and decided to design our Scratch Maze game as the Gabon Forest. The sprites were small tribes of elephants, and poachers.
First we created our forest on paper with the trails of the elephants as the maze, and then the students imagined different danger spots, where lions might attack, or near the gold mine where poachers were living. They also created some safe areas for the elephants. We practiced making mazes. Then we used our Scratch program. Sprites are like the players in the game. So we created tribes of elephants as sprites, and wild randomly flying dark glasses as the poachers. The create the maze we used the background and painted our forests and the elephant trails.
We programmed the elephants to move with the keyboard arrow keys. The poachers had a random fast moving pattern, so that the elephants had to be careful to avoid them. We put in our lakes as safe places, the gold mine, cliffs or rocks as danger places. There was more work to do, but it was fun. Below are photos of students using MakeyMakey, and then creating a maze on the floor.
We will post the Mazes to our studio http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/2935407/. If you go to the scratch website, anyone with our without a scratch account can see our projects.
Come and Join our Classes Starting in April 2017. On Thursday, March 30th, you can come at 4 PM to the Unitarian Church in Newburyport to see what we are doing, and whether you’d like to sign up. More information on our website too on the Connect Kids page.