Cathedral Students Learn Computer Coding with Fruit

It can be difficult for children to understand invisible concepts such as sound. Teachers at Cathedral School, however, came up with a unique way to help them.

Apples and oranges can't be compared, but at Cathedral School, they can be used to play music.

When Cathedral School student Chandler Russell first saw that he could control his computer with fruit, he couldn't believe it.

"I just felt in awe because I've always had to press the keys and now I'm playing my computer with a banana and objects, so it's cool," said Chandler.

Sixth graders at Cathedral learned how sound, energy and coding work using special circuits called Makey Makey boards.

Cathedral School science teacher Kay Power said: "Once the art teacher and the music teacher got involved, and they were teaching through arts and music, they loosened up, and they got into the project. And, they were just really excited about it and then were more eager to learn the science behind it."

The boards work by having each object correspond to a key that is activated by touch. That key then tells the computer what to do, much like a normal keyboard.

Using one of these boards, you can do anything from playing music to playing games like the childhood favorite, "Super Mario Brothers."

The project is funded by a $3,000 grant from the North Dakota Council on the arts. The grant covers supplies, a documentary on the project and lessons from a Valley City State professor."

"That's what STEM and the arts does very well. It pulls together more students into realizing what this is all about, instead of a bunch of white coated, pencil toting kind of geeky scientists," said David Demuth, VCSU director of Integrative STEM Projects

Every scientist starts somewhere. For these students, it's playing music on an orange.