Help Pete Find His Beat


  • Use physical objects to control digital animations and sound
  • Use math (you won’t realize you did)
  • Use music (you’ll probably realize you did)

What you get

  • Three ways to help Pete find his beat using micro:bit, MaKey MaKey, and Scratch
  • Loads of supplemental teaching resources for music, coding and Scratch 3.0
A sock-bunny, a micro:bit clipped to a glove, and a MaKey MaKey. These are all the first drafts of my attempts.

Most people don’t know this, but there is a reason Peter Cottontail always came hip-hoppin’ down the bunny trail. 

He was a famous DJ, and he loved to make music. Though the secret to his music lived in his tail.

One day a terrible DJ accident happened and Peter lost his cottontail.

Now he is just known as “Pete who lost his beat.”

Can you help Pete find his beat? 

Part 1  – Make Pete, micro:bit glove, and MaKey MaKey dance pad 


Pete: 1 sock, fist-full of stuffing, two rubber bands, and scissors

micro:bit glove: glove, binder clip, micro:bit with battery pack

MaKey MaKey dance pad: 1 file folder, aluminum foil (about the size of half a sheet of computer paper), glue, scissors, MaKey MaKey

First, make Pete.

Pete is a sock bunny.

Pete is just a sock bunny. Follow this tutorial to make your own. If you don’t like this tutorial, search “No sew sock bunny” to find many versions. You can also search “No sew sock animal” to finds lots of other creatures to make with a sock.

Materials: 1 sock, fist-full of stuffing, two rubber bands, and scissors.

Glue a piece of foil onto the bottom of Pete. This will help him to dance on the MaKey MaKey dance pad.

Glue foil onto the bottom of Pete. This is how Pete will complete the circuit on the MaKey MaKey dance pad.

Second, make your micro:bit glove.

Materials: glove, binder clip, micro:bit with battery pack

Clip the micro:bit to a glove with a binder clip. Connect the battery pack and slide it into the glove.


A deleted scene from Stranger Things when the micro:bit starts to flash lights and communicate a message from another world. Just kidding.

Get your micro:bit glove ready to control Scratch

Go to this website:

1.) Install “Scratch Link”

2) Install “Scratch micro:bit Hex


Third, Make MaKey MaKey Dance Pad 

Materials: 1 file folder, aluminum foil (about the size of half a sheet of computer paper), glue, scissors

It would be fun to redesign this as a bunny trail for Pete to come hip-hoppin’ down. Or the surface of Mars. It’s really up to you

Pete will dance to the left in Scratch when he is in this position.

I gave Pete three moves  on my dance pad, though in the picture above, only move 2 is connected.

  1. When Space Key Pressed
  2. When Left Arrow Pressed
  3. When Right Arrow Pressed

See all three moves on the MaKey MaKey dance pad in action here (video starts immediately with dance moves).

Now you should have a sock animal, micro:bit glove, and MaKey MaKey dance pad.

Part 2 – Coding in Scratch

Open Scratch and add the micro:bit and MaKey MaKey extensions.


Choose a stage and sprite that you like. I took a picture of Pete and uploaded him into Scratch to use as my sprite. 

I used this video to help me to remove Pete’s background in Scratch.

Now, help Pete find his beat. Try this code. How else can you help Pete? 

See this code in action with the micro:bit and MaKey MaKey (video starts immediately at code in action).

Have fun! I can’t wait to see how you help Pete to find his beat.  <3 KatieDays


Want more with music, coding, and Scratch 3.0 ? Thank you to Jared O’Leary from BootUpPD for sharing these resources with me.

Jumping Game with Music-

Jumping Game with Sound Effects-

Toggle Music with a Button-

Create  Music Player-

Make Music with Ten Block Challenge-

More resources from Jared himself-        

Beatbox Machine-

This blog post was created from the ideas shared by Colleen Graves and Katie Henry in the two webinars below. 

Let’s Invent! Celebrate Scratch Month with MaKey MaKey and micro:bit!

Let’s Invent! Celebrate Scratch Month Episode Two with MaKey MaKey and micro:bit!

micro:bit maracas with microBlocks

micro:bit maracas with microBlocks

What you get below:

  • materials list

  • sample code

  • extension idea


Materials list

  1. microBlocks (free download)

  2. micro:bit  $17.50

  3. mi:sound board from Kitronik $6.50


Using microBlocks to program maracas


Attaching the speaker with alligator/crocodile clips

I used the mi:sound board from Kitronik


Extension idea: Attach your micro:bits to gloves using rubber bands or Velcro. Then, wave your hands around to make music.


Get started with micro:bit + Scratch

Get started with micro:bit + Scratch

What you get below:

  • 4 simple activity cards with quick demo videos

1) Move 


Activity card created by Scratch Team at MIT


2) Tilt 

Activity card created by Scratch Team at MIT


3) Shake

Activity card created by Scratch Team at MIT


4) Jump

Activity card created by Scratch Team at MIT


Face-tracking Flappy Bird Game in Scratch

What you get below:

1. Copy the Code – tells you how to copy the game you see here

2. Hack the Code – gives you ways for students to modify the existing code

3. Teach Students – A suggested instructional sequence for helping students to build their own games from the ground up.


1) Use this link to open Scratch:

2) Click on the “Add extension” icon (bottom left corner)

3) Scroll down and select “Facemesh2Scratch” extension.  Note: It will take a while to open. Your computer will look like it’s locked up, but it isn’t.

4) Download this Scratch code:   (Open the link. Then, right-mouse click on the file and select “download”

5) In Scratch, select: File –>  open, and open the code you downloaded in step 4.  (Be sure to open that code AFTER you do steps 1-3. The Facemesh2Scratch extension has to be open first.)

6) Click the green flag and start playing the game.

Julia Dweck (@giftedtawk on Twitter) does push-ups to play a Flappy Bird game created in Scratch.


Q: How can I speed up the scroll?

A: Increase the speed of the “glide.”

Q: How can teachers suggest students modify the code?


  1. Increase speed of the game
  2. Change the Flappy Bird sprite to your favorite character
  3. Reduce distance between the pipes


  1. Play a sound when the Flappy Bird touches a pipe
  2. Create a score board. Add a point when Flappy Bird makes it through a pipe. Lose a point if Flappy Bird touches a pipe.

Design thinking: 

  1. Create a fun game for others who are in quarantine and not moving as much. How can you help more people move in a fun way? Not everyone can do push-ups. What other kinds of movement can you inspire with your game?


Q: What is the easiest way to share code with students?

A: Students need the Facemesh2Scratch extension loaded in Scratch before they open the code linked in the above section “Copy the Code”. Follow steps for “Copy the Code” above to share with students.

Otherwise, consider creating your own instructional sequence. 

STEP ONE  – Students open Facemesh2Scratch  extension in Scratch.


1) Use this link to open Scratch:

2) Click on the “Add extension” icon (bottom left corner)

3) Scroll down and select “Facemesh2Scratch” extension.  Note: It will take a while to open. Your computer will look like it’s locked up, but it isn’t.

4) Practice using this code to see what happens.

STEP TWO – Learn to create scrolling sprites.

Does anyone in your class know how to do this? Let them teach others. Students can also use tutorials, such as the one below.


STEP THREE – Students identify problems to solve

What problems do your students still need to solve in making their game?

Form interest-based groups around remaining problems using a platform like Flipgrid. Allow students who are trying to solve similar problems to work together. Get the students name their own problems and find people who share similar problems.   Don’t go too fast at this step.  There is a lot of learning in being able to name the problem you are trying to solve. Answer their questions with questions.

Encourage them to:

  1. Name the problem
  2. Identify resources they already know about that could help
  3. Identify resources they wish they had
  4. Ask them how they can obtain the resources that they wish they had.
  5. There will likely be many problems. Ask them to focus on the hardest problem first. 

Places to find resources they will possibly need:

Youtube Scratch tutorials

Scratch community help pages

Identify an expert in the field to reach out to


Have fun.





Colour Tower

We have to make safe places for students to take creative risks, and trust students in those places.”

Colour Tower

I remember taking a risk in 6th grade art, though at the time, I didn’t know I was.  Using British English to title my drawing “Colour Tower” made perfect sense to me. I was reading the Chronicles of Narnia at the time, and thought it was cool how the words were spelled differently than I was used to. The word “colour” felt exotic to me – like much more vibrant colors emerged when you spelled it that way.

As soon as my “Colour Tower” was hanging in the hallway at school, the disgusted-sounding taunts began. “Doesn’t Katie know how to spell? That’s stupid.”

I never had a chance to explain myself, and I didn’t want to.  I felt embarrassed and ashamed.   I stopped spelling the word color with the letter U, and my world became a little less bright. For girls, creative risk-taking in middle school can be wildly terrifying.  But, some girls don’t just stop using the letter U to spell new words in middle school – worse things happen. They can stop leaning into their academic talents and using the power of their minds coupled with the power of their hearts.  Their true passions can become secretive and hidden. They sometimes stay locked for years, or never get unlocked at all.  That’s painful.

I think I was one of these middle school girls, too.  How was I ever going to lean into my own talents, when I was obsessed with matching what I saw everyone else doing?  It was easier to conform than to try something new and risk feeling embarrassed.1

How can we help more middle school girls feel confident to take creative risks?

We have to make it less unusual for a middle school girl to do something different from her peers, and that starts with us doing something different for our students. We have to make safe places for students to take creative risks, and trust students in those places.

While I don’t believe tools themselves solve the problems we are talking about, trusting students to take creative risks with tools they may never before have used can have a profound impact on their life.

You don’t always need tools to help inspire confidence, but there are some good ones that can help. They are beginner-friendly and cost as little as $15 per kit, but the possibilities are endless. They rely on students’ minds and hearts to bring them to life.

Learn more: A Low Cost Robotics Kit – Great for Girls

A teacher works on a robot dancer with cardboard, the micro:bit, and MicroBlocks
  1. Having said that, I did want to be a spy in 7th grade. For a while I carried around a bag with a 110 film camera, mirrors for looking around corners, and a notebook. Mostly I did this with my best friend in her forest, but once I brought the bag to school. Although no one knew I was a spy. Because, well, that was the point. []

A Low Cost Robotics Kit – Great for Girls

Inspire Creativity and Confident Risk-Taking with this Low Cost Robotics Kit


  • Library
  • STEAM/Maker Space
  • Computer Science Education
  • Interdisciplinary
Infosys WinterPathfinders 2020. Class “Art with the BBC micro:bit”  John Maloney, creator of MicroBlocks, and I facilitate workshops like this one with teachers using the tools below.

WHY – Read Colour Tower

Getting Started

micro:bit in front of website
MicroBlocks Activity Cards – Free

Why use micro:bit?

The micro:bit is a tiny programmable computer that makes STEM, computer science, and coding easy and fun.  With this one device, students can start taking creative risks in nearly any subject. Check out for free lesson plans and student project ideas.

Why use MicroBlocks?

MicroBlocks is a small, fast, human friendly programming language specifically designed for tools like the micro:bit.  MicroBlocks is perfect for libraries, maker spaces, and anywhere with lots of people and resources coming and going.

Just plug your micro:bit into your computer,  open MicroBlocks, and click the gear icon to “update firmware”. That’s it.  Double-check to make sure the USB icon has a green circle behind it to show the connection is good. (See it in action below.)

Note: This 16 second video has sound.  

A Little More

You can do a lot with the buttons, sensors, and display built right into the micro:bit, but you can also do more by adding accessories.  The basic:bit is one way to easily add accessories.

Attach your micro:bit to the front of the basic:bit with 5 screws that come with the basic:bit. (See photos below.) Use the same battery pack that came with your micro:bit to power it all. MicroBlocks makes it easy to start programming your basic:bit instantly.

(Note: If it is difficult for your school to order basic:bits from that website above, try this one: The price goes up a bit, but the transaction should be smoother.)

micro:bit (top) and basic:bit (bottom)
Attach the micro:bit to the top of the basic:bit using the five screws that come with the basic:bit. Use the battery pack that came with your micro:bit to power it all.
The backside of the micro:bit attached to the basic:bit.

Rainbow Ready

(Note:  If it is difficult for your school to order from that website, try this one The price goes up a bit, but the transaction should be smoother.)

micro:bit powered NeoPixel strip, programmed in MicroBlocks

Attach your NeoPixel strip to the basic:bit. The MicroBlocks NeoPixel activity card makes it easy to learn.  Because the basic:bit comes with a piezo speaker built in, try using the sound and NeoPixels together. The MicroBlocks sound  activity card will help you.

Note: This 4 second video has sound.


This project was made using the winch and crank build videos at the BirdBrain Technologies Build page. This puppet uses two position servos: one in the eyes and one in the mouth. The MicroBlocks servos activity card makes it easy to get started with servos. Also, this puppet is being powered by the ring:bit instead of the basic:bit.  You can make a puppet with a basic:bit, but the extra battery in the ring:bit will help your puppet last longer.  However, the ring:bit doesn’t have a piezo speaker built in like the basic:bit does.

Note: This 5 second video has sound. 

Everything You Need

Getting Started

A Little More

Rainbow Ready


A teacher builds a model bridge with a micro:bit powered servo driving a car back and forth. The project is programmed using MicroBlocks.



Contact me with questions.


Hope Lives in Gobstoppers Left on Your Desk

<6 minute read


A role many of us know best is one of consumer, but it’s not our fault.


Much of our world was designed for us long before we arrived in it.


It seemed important to the folks designing for us to remove unpredictable surprises from their products and services.


(Makes sense to me.)


Occasionally finding a golden ticket wrapped in a chocolate bar might be cool, but no one wants their microwave to suddenly explode.


(A good surprise)



(A bad surprise)


Creators want their consumers to be safe (very important) and happy (who doesn’t want that?).


Creators don’t want consumers blaming themselves for something they didn’t have control over.


(Wait. Who has control?)


Getting things to be predictable is what creators do for consumers.


(Again, nothing wrong with safe and happy.)


But when creators work with other creators, they solve the unpredictable surprises together.


Creativity, spontaneity, serendipity, and hope all arise from unpredictable surprises.


(The things that make us human arise in the space of unpredictability.)





Hope lives in gobstoppers left on your desk.











Artificial Intelligence Primer – For Everyday Teachers, part 1


Choose Your Own Adventure:  4 Places to Start 





I have 17 minutes and 59 seconds for a TED Talk:

How we’re teaching computers to understand pictures






I need some quick examples for my students to discuss:

Beauty and Joy of Computing, Unit 3, Lab 3







I like to read and I want concrete examples:

The real danger of AI is human bias, not evil robots, VentureBeat

Is this AI? We drew you a flow chart to work it out, MIT Technology Review







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