STEAM Siblings: Mamta and Mrunal

April 27, 2022

Makey Makey Workshop and the STEAM siblings

Last May, we led our first Makey Makey Certified Educator Workshop where we met Mamta and Mrunal Shah! At the workshop, they introduced themselves to us as the STEAM siblings.

Mamta Shah, PhD is a Learning Scientist at Elsevier, where she conducts research on digital learning environments for nursing and health education. Mamta is also an instructor in the Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses on games and learning. She also serves as the Chief Play Advisor of Sunday Bricks. Formerly, Mamta was a postdoctoral scholar in the Games and Learning in Interactive Digital Environments (GLIDE) lab at Drexel University.



Mrunal Shah is the Founder & Chief Play Promoter at Sunday Bricks. At Sunday Bricks he designs theme based LEGO workshops for children, teachers and parents. He is also the Lead Facilitator for the Six Bricks program supported by LEGO Foundation. He loves combining LEGO with different STEM tools and hence he is a certified as Makey Makey teacher and a Strawbees Ambassador too. Mrunal is currently studying Play Therapy and is also an active member in the ECCE communities across India.


Mamta Shah and The Ecology of Games and Learning

In Mamta's graduate level course Video Games and Virtual Worlds as Sites for Engagement, students spend 16 weeks learning about many foundational ideas, historical-current-emergent trends, and personally-relevant issues on games and learning. Her goal is to help students gain a kaleidoscopic, microscopic and telescopic view on what makes games good for education and society.

A key focus bridging how games can be used as a medium for learning is to understand the instructionist and constructionist approaches. Briefly, the former involves learning by playing games and the latter involves learning by designing and making games. To emphasize on the constructionist perspective, Mamta asked students to remix board games and the classic game of Pong on Scratch. She wanted them to gain first-hand experience on how a tool like Scratch can be used to create interactive experiences.

Bending and Remixing with Makey Makey

While Mamta wanted her students to understand the value of game design through remixing, she also wanted to instill the value of bending things as a way towards invention. This is where she introduced students to Makey Makey and led a session where students worked in groups to create controllers for their Scratch games. Mamta encouraged students to take anything from the world and use it as materials for their controllers. 


 "What if you aren’t just limited to bending the virtual world, but you can also bend the physical world. How can you bring together the physical and digital worlds?"


This exercise of remixing a Scratch game allowed students to change different aspects of a pre-made game and inventing a controller with Makey Makey encouraged students to think of how their designed experience could be enhanced further. Possibilities about designing unique scaffolding for players, increasing accessibility, expanding a single-player game to multiplayer experience were explored through remixing and bending. 

Some examples of the Scratch projects and Makey Makey controllers can be found below. 

By not providing explicit instructions, the students were free to try out many possibilities.

At the end of the semester one group of students (Yashu Ren, Yue Yang, Yi Zhou, Yu-An Chen) blended Scratch and MakeyMakey with a boardgame. Check out this video which demonstrates how switches were modified and used for spinner wheel and dice roll actions. 

Mrunal Shah and Kids Hack Day

Mrunal is the creative genius behind Sunday Bricks in Mumbai, India. His workshops also focus on the constructivist lens of playing to learn. 

This month, his students in Mumbai participated in Kids Hack Day

KHD is a global event for children to build, create, communicate and share their thoughts and ideas. This year the event also happened at Sweden and Bosnia.

Sunday Bricks is in charge of the Kids Hack Day Mumbai chapter. At Sunday Bricks the core manipulative is LEGO and love to combine LEGO with other STEM tools.
For the April 2022 event, 23 children combined LEGO with Makey Makey and using Scratch these participants built a "Talking LEGO Model."
Students were given a theme of " Love and Peace" and asked to think of a story. They visualized their story with a LEGO model and then learned how to use Makey Makey and Scratch. By using Scratch to record their voices for the story, they were able to add interactive touch points to their LEGO creations so it could talk!
It was an absolute delight to see how children designed, conceptualized and created their own models.
Know educators doing great work with Makey Makey? Tag us on social for a chance to be featured on our blog!
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