Makey Makey

Makey Makey projects are ideal for the classroom. Students can use everyday tactile materials to invent and bring to life projects that link to computer coding that can then be easily modified as part of a creative, inquisitive explorative process.

The key idea with the Makey Makey, is that any conductive material can act as an input device for a computer. This results in a focus on the fun, creative side of play before then delving deeper into the programming side of things. Because the start of a project comes with a pre-programmed package, students with no coding experience can start to use it before learning coding in detail. They can then explore how the coding elements interact with the fun input elements of Makey Makey.

The Makey Makey approach is based on a belief that the Maker Movement is more than robots, 3D printing, or STEM, or just building things. It facilitates students to become natural hardware engineers and solve real design challenges in a landscape that fosters and focuses on curiosity and fun.

Makey Makey is a simple input option for computers where the user can interact in different ways with the computer. It certainly creates a lot of fun and the learning options that it can enable are immense.

A bit more about the Makey Makey:

A Makey Makey is just connected up via USB and can then use other input options when connected up with alligator clips. Check the fun Makey Makey intro video first.

Then have a look around their site

Makey Makey for Learning:

Having such an interactive fun interface can bring a whole lot of options alive. These options can range from interacting with existing content through to creating your own content. Creating interactive components with some coding in Scratch or similar can really personalise the work while also building computational thinking, problem-solving and authentic online skills. The fact that Makey Makey adds an element of fun too is a big outcome alone!

Using Makey Makey helps users to:

  • learn about simple circuits and conductivity
  • personalise and enjoy interaction with existing web content or pieces of software in a fun way especially game based content or musical elements

Combine Makey Makey with coding like Scratch to produce:

  • interactive posters with sounds, audio and more
  • instruction and feedback sheets
  • your own musical instruments or games with triggers or hotkeys
  • the world is your oyster!!

Going further:

Couple your ideas with creating your own digital ink (like in this video bringing Science in!) to extend the learning to a new level. Open a plethora of opportunity with some programming and making with Arduino and similar microcontroller boards or Raspberry PI or other Microprocessors (computers) with triggers or hotkeys!

An Introduction To Makey Makey.

the following is a useful method to introduce Makey Makey into a class to really highlight the interactivity that can be utilised.

Step 1: have one Makey Makey set up to interact with the Makey Makey Piano and have one person that can play the piano play a “human hand piano” To do this have each of your keys holding the other end of each Aligator clip from the MM. They will need to realign to be in the correct positions. Things to highlight and ask – How is this happening? What happens if two people are touching? How many people could you line up and still conduct through?
STEP 2: Watch the Makey Makey video to stimulate some ideas. Talk of possible projects, conductivity, interaction etc. talk of materials like conductive thread, “snail and Slug” copper tape, Steel Foil (hit and miss with me so far!)
STEP 3: If you have one already set project this would be a great lead into the next steps. (I made a little piano with a box and copper tape and had it ready to roll)
STEP 4: Going further using Tynker, Scratch or similar – program the arrows, space and click to trigger interactivity.
Ideas to try: build a musical instrument, an interactive poster with a graphite pencil (keep the lines thick!), a game controller, physical interactivity, Like a large walking piano. Play with conductive thread like this nice simple T-Shirt on Instructables.
Going Much further: Make use of Raspberry PI or similar to have a stand-alone project that just needs a battery to power the Raspberry PI.  . .. . . . …. Ooooooo! Now your thinking!

Resources and Links:

Makey Makey original board $50-70 US + Shipping
Copper tape with adhesive backing 8m $8 AUD from Bunnings

Also recommended: cheap wiring and heat shrink to put around the joints when soldering
Piano TEST

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