Interactive Medieval Walls in 5th Grade

by Mary Catherine Coleman and Sarah Beebe, ILIS Department

Fifth grade students recently completed a project that dovetailed with their immersion in the Middle Ages by merging their research on perspectives from this time period with their artistic talents and technological skills to create a collaborative, interactive mural wall.

In helping these interactive murals come to life, teachers explained the coding and computer materials students would use for this project and spoke about the inspiration and purpose of the art and its creation. Each class had to develop an interactive background mural that reflected the area of medieval life they studied in their graderoom this year. Students split into two groups with different responsibilities: Makers and Coders.

The Makers were responsible for the physical development of their class’s background mural, a process that involved a fair amount of negotiation and collaboration. Students created and developed original background artwork on which they affixed photos of each of their classroom peers in medieval costume, finalizing a layout and design that illustrated their understanding of the area of medieval life their class studied this year.

The Coders worked to connect the visual elements of the background mural with audio recordings of their peer students in character. Students recorded each of the audio files and used Scratch coding along with the Makey Makey tool to wire their board.

In the end, each class produced a unique wall mural reflecting the background or setting of the area of medieval life they studied. Each mural featured photos of students in the medieval character they studied, which was also attached to a connector that played that student’s audio file when touched.

Once complete, these interactive walls were hung in the Kovler Family Library hallway by the 5th grade classrooms for the greater Parker community to enjoy.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.