Makey Makey at home or at school: Free learning activities, ideas for loaning out kits, and more!

Lesson Eight: Draw and Code a Poem Generator

Now that you know a little bit more about coding games in Scratch and connecting those games to Makey Makey, we thought it would be fun to tinker with literacy. In this project, you'll write different parts of a poem, code them in Scratch, and then draw a poem generator.   

Draw Symbols and Write Poetry Stanzas

The first step to creating your poetry generator is to start writing stanzas for each section of the poem.

You'll want to have four sections of your poem and organize your stanzas around a theme. 

For our example we wrote multiple stanzas around these themes:

  • Trees: Our lyrical prose is about rustling leaves, bursting buds, etc
  • Bugs: Here the stanzas use personification or alliteration
  • Sun: We used some similes to compare the sun to emotions
  • Person: These last stanzas are even more figurative. Here you want to have good strong ending lines. So all of the stanzas that will end your poem should sound like a final line of poetry.

Your goal is to draw four drawings that will symbolize what you are writing about for each stanza. Here are some ideas for writing lyrical poetry:

  • Use Alliteration: This is when you have multiple words with the same letter or consonant sound. Like in the tongue twister "Peter Piper picked a pickled pepper."
  • Incorporate similes : Compare two things you wouldn't normally compare with the words "like" " as"  or "then." For example, "My heart is like an open book."
  • Use metaphors:  This is also a comparison but is direct. For example: "My heart is an open book."

Once you have your stanzas and theme ideas, make four drawings that will symbolize each section. You can draw with a normal pencil, but if you have an artist pencil 6B or higher, they will work even better! Make sure your drawings are thick and dark and close enough to the edge to connect an alligator clip. 

If you have your stanzas written and your symbols drawn, you can follow along with this video to code and connect with Scratch!

  

 

Recording Audio in Scratch

If you've done the previous lesson where we coded key presses in Scratch, or if you completed lesson six where we coded interactive stories in Scratch, you can skip to the next section, but if you need a refresher, here is how you locate the sound tab and record your own audio!

Code in Scratch

This is a pretty simple coding project that can have a jaw dropping effect! You'll still use the Makey Makey hat to trigger sound effects from key presses. The big difference is that you will use a "reporter" block inside the sound block to play random stanzas therefore generating a different poem every time some plays your project!

The "pick random" reporter block is located in the "operations" palette. Drag it into the sound block. The sound will highlight when you can place the block inside.

You may (or may not) have noticed that all of your recorded sounds have already been assigned a number in Scratch. Once you have a "pick random" reporter in each sound block, you need to assign which sounds will play on which key presses. You can record as many sounds as you want for each section of your poem. The more sounds you create, the more random your poetry will become! You can use the "pick random" report for any number of sounds, but it is easiest to have the stanza choices in order. So all of your "tree" sounds might be sounds 1-3, and your second stanza sounds might be 4-7. Make as many sounds as you want and get ready to hook up your Makey Makey to your drawings and generate poetry!

 

Here is our Scratch project for reference. Use the arrow keys to play the different stanzas.

 

 

Hook up Makey Makey to Scratch

Hook up each drawing to the appropriate key press you've coded in Scratch. Hold an alligator clip connected to EARTH (or connect EARTH to a drawing or even your clipboard) and touch each drawing to test your poem generator! 

Share with friends! If you create this project and want to share it in our Makey Makey and Scratch Class Studio, then copy and paste the link of your project and comment on our Scratch example project here and we will add it to our studio! 

If you've completed all eight classes, you've earned the right to this level up badge! Our next round of classes will focus on hands on activities to help you can earn your Maker badge! 

 

Time Investment
30-45 min
Grades:
4-12 

Supplies

  • Makey Makey
  • Pencils
  • Scratch

EDU Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.3.D
Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.

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