Piloted with 6th grade science in 2014, Interactive Eco-Systems will be implemented across the entire Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) in 2015 with support from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Creativity/Innovation Grant. As part of 6th grade life science and ecology/ecosystems studies, CPS uses a Computer based virtual environment developed by Harvard called EcoMUVE. Students are presented with a scenario related to a forest ecosystem and utilize the virtual environment in EcoMUVE to come to a solution. As a final project articulating a hypothesis and solution to a problem, students created mixed media scientific illustrations depicting the EcoMUVE web of organism interactions. Their paper based ecosystem webs were made into computer based interactive simulations by connecting MaKeyMaKey kits and were controlled by programming with Scratch. Students gained practice in 21st- century skills such as collaborating and creativity throughout the duration of this project by engaging in STEAM education (Science,Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).
This project was exhibited at the first annual White House Maker Faire in 2014.