[CubeSats Online Summer 2020] Making Prompt 3: Sensing with Scratch

For this week’s Making Prompt, we’d like you to create a Scratch project to represent or interact with data in a creative way! Then, share a link to your project in the thread below.

Scratch is a great tool for interfacing with a data-collecting payload (e.g. a micro:bit) during the launch process, allowing for real-time visualization of data in a creative way.

Here are a few ideas for getting started:

  • If you’re new to Scratch, feel free to get started by making a space-themed project! The Scratch Team has some great ideas & tutorials to use as a jumping off point.

  • If you have access to a micro:bit, try connecting it to Scratch and using one of the on-board sensors to make an interactive project. Or get started by remixing this graphing project from the PLIX Team.

  • You can also play around with Scratch & video sensing using your webcam to create an interactive project. Check out this tutorial and this studio of starter projects for some inspiration!

Feel free to get creative!

This Making Prompt is part of the PLIX CubeSats Online :artificial_satellite: workshop series. You can find more information and links to sign-up in the linked thread below :arrow_down:

I don’t have a micro:bit at home, but wanted to use one of the sensing features in Scratch as a way to visualize data! Ultimately, I chose the sound-sensing feature, which charts the path of a CubeSat in outer space, dependent on the sound level and duration picked up by my computer’s microphone! I am still playing around with the threshold of sound level for movement: at the moment, it’s really sensitive! I was working outside when I noticed that the movement is even affected by the sound of wind. I wonder, then, if this could be used as a sort of weather tracker for predicting which days would be good for a balloon launch : )

In my next iteration of this project, I am going to animate the space dog and stars to dance around when the Cubesat enters Earth’s orbit!

Here is the project page for my creation: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/415064518


I remixed PLIX’s Scratch project to include some very edited audio of me when you go in certain directions :speaking_head::speaking_head::speaking_head:. I also made some other style choices that hopefully you all like. At home I very serendipitously do have a micro:bit to play around with, but I left the features from the original project so that you can still play with the arrow keys on your computer.

Here’s the link to my project: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/415089404/

And I’ve also embedded it (using an iframe) below!

Also: OMG @averymsnormandin I also used the little doggy as my character too, haha. Soooooo cute!


Not having a whole lot of experience in Scratch, I just wanted to make something work. So this space dinosaur notes and marks the spots where you leave your mouse for too long.


Ha! I love this. I didn’t know that you could track your mouse with Scratch. Awesome!!

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I don’t have a lot of my sensing equipment at home with me, but I did want to show a screen grab of a program I did last spring with Hummingbird sensors. It uses Scratch but also integrates blocks (grey) for the Hummingbird equipment. This program is for an ‘alarm’ system, where we use an if/then/else loop to react to how far away the distance sensor is from a surface.

So in this program
-if distance is <12 cm, then the LED lights up and the vibration motor activates
-if distance is between 12 and 20 cm, the LED lights up but the motor stays inactive
-if distance is >20, then the LED and motor are inactive

This could be modified for use in our cubesats to determine how close our satellite is to surfaces and alert the user to crash landings!


I tinkered with a remix of @Lydia’s Scratch project today using a microbit. I tried to recreate the movement of a CubeSat tied to a balloon with a space penguin. I’m still working on my Scratch project remix using music, paint, and the microbit which I’ll post later tonight.

My Scratch project is a Space Penguin that paints and composes music in an impressionistic style. :slight_smile: It is coded with keyboard arrow controls that can easily be modified to work with the Microbit tilt sensors.
Click the space penguin sprite for a friendly, reassuring message!


–Click the green flag to start.
–Move the space penguin with left arrow, right arrow, up
arrow, and down arrow.
–The space penguin will draw different colors when it
changes directions.
–Repeating musical segments begin to play once the
space penguin has moved at least 3 steps to the right,
12 steps down, 22 steps up, and 30 steps down.
–Shooting stars begin to draw their varied patterns after
the space penguin moves left by 5, 10, 15, 20, and 50
–If the music becomes too sad in its a-minorness, click
the space penguin to receive a friendly, reassuring


What can I say about this project. I love tacos and dinosaurs. I created a fun game. I hope you enjoy. I plan to create something else and I will share that project soon. -Zach


I searched for a tutorial on sensing temperature with micro:bit and found this: https://www.hackster.io/anish78/how-to-read-temperature-using-bbc-micro-bit-34bf58

and copied that to code a micro:bit that senses temperature. I also did some research into using the radio communication feature of micro:bit but I only have one micro:bit so I couldn’t test that. If I had more time I would have converted the Celsius to Fahrenheit or maybe coded it so it showed both. It’s 17 C in my office (62.6 F). Brrr!

I also downloaded and installed the micro:bit extension for Scratch but haven’t played around with that yet.



first time using Scratch need lots of work