maker playground

activity tracking | middle school

Learn how important it is to stay active, and design a way to track your own movement.

explore

Our bodies are made of several systems that all work together to help us move, grow, and thrive. Moving is an essential part of staying healthy, especially when we’re young and our bodies are still developing. In fact, if we don’t keep moving, not only do we not grow and build new muscles, but the muscles we have become weak and shrink! Learn more from this TED talk. Not only does movement keep our muscles strong and our bones dense, it helps our brains as well. Regular movement for at least an hour every day helps our brains think, learn, and problem solve, and it gives our emotions a positive boost as well!

How much time do you spend moving every day? How many minutes a day is your gym class or recess period? What about when you get home from school, or on the weekend? Sometimes a break in our routine, like summer vacation, can disrupt our healthy habits. Without school or sports to remind us to keep moving it can be hard to build and keep healthy habits.

There are lots of high-tech ways to track your movement, from phone apps to wrist watches, but there are plenty of unique and artistic ways to log your movements as well. Paint dancing is one way artists use to track your movement, and lots of athletes use gps trackers to draw pictures.

imagine

For many of us, daily movement is a part of our routine, like walking the dog or going to basketball practice, but it isn’t always easy to keep track of how much we’re moving. Design a way to record your movement that will inspire you to keep moving and help you keep a record of what you’ve achieved. Ask yourself:

  • What are some ways you stay healthy and active?
  • What are your favorite ways to move?
  • What daily movements are a part of your routine already (like dog walking or basketball practice)?
  • What are some ways you like to stay active that you can keep doing all year long?

Think about ways you can add additional movements to your day and unique ways you can track that movement. Imagine ways that include technology and other methods that are analog, or don’t require the use of any digital tools like a computer, gps, or a cellphone.

create

Unsure of where to start? Try coding a simple step counter using Micro:bit. Micro:bit is a microcontroller, or pocket-sized computer, that can help you learn how hardware (the physical equipment) and software (the code and programming) work together. Don’t worry if you don’t own a Micro:bit — you can use the online Make:code simulator. Using the Make:code programming environment, you can create code that will help keep track of your movements. Once you’ve programmed your step counter, try and think of ways to expand your tracker to count other movements.

If you’re looking for something more artistic, try your hand at light painting to capture your movements in the dark, or think of ways to incorporate outdoor safe art supplies like sidewalk chalk or tempera paint into your movements.

Whatever your design, make sure to share your creation with socialmedia@kid-museum.org for a chance to be featured on KID Museum’s website or social media. Be sure to include your name, age, and details about your creation, including how it works and what inspired you!