My Makey Makey Lab

This week for CEP811 I was challenged to play with a maker kit and repurposed or found items. I decided to purchase the Makey Makey kit and started to explore different connections that I coul797BA48C-57A1-45B6-AA89-E97FBCD7A7F4d make. Makey Makey is a simple circuit board that enables you to connect conductive materials to the board with alligator clips and allows you to control your computer. The Makey Makey site includes a gallery of examples of how to create using the Makey Makey board. When I first opened my maker kit I connected it to silverware and played around with the music apps on the Makey Makey site. It was so much fun being able to play the drums and piano with a set of forks.

As I kept on playing with my maker kit I started to get ideas about how I could use Makey Makey in my Kindergarten classroom. I know my students would love being able to play the piano with bananas or gummy bears as I have seen in some YouTube videos, but I had to think about my challenge for the week of creating a prototype activity that would connect to my teaching context. Along with playing with my maker kit, I did some reading about rethinking the use of technology in the 21st century. Dr. Punya Mishra and the Deep-Play Research Group discussed how the use of technology and creativity in education needs to be reconstructed. “What we need for technology in education is also what we need for creativity in education: a new framework for thinking creatively both within, and across the disciplines— an “(in)disciplined” framework, as it were” (Mishra 2012).

After reading the ideas of Dr. Punya Mishra and the Deep-Play Research Group, I was excited to start planning a creative and technology infused lesson for my students. Recently in class we have been focusing on phonetic spelling. My students do a really good job of listening for the beginning and ending sounds in their consonant, vowel, consonant (CVC) words, but struggle to identify the vowel sound in the middle. My goal is to create a game using Makey Makey and the piano app to have my students practice identifying their vowel sounds. Inspiration for this activity came from Makey Makey to teach Syllabication in Kindergarten. See the video below on how I used found materials to create a “industrial keyboard” to go with my MakeyMakey.

The following is a “How To” for making your own vowel intensive activity with Makey Makey.

 Vowel Intensive Activity with Makey Makey

Materials Needed and Setup

  1. A Makey Makey kit purchased from http://MakeyMakey.com
    (cost approximately $50.00)
    IMG_5721
  2. A Computer with internet access
  3. Repurposed items from thrift store or around house
    • I chose to find things around my house
      • 1 piece of wood
      • 10 screws
      • 6 washers (variety of sizes)
      • a drill/screwdriver
      • 1 pencil to draw with 

  4. Make your “industrial keyboard”
    • Screw the washers into the piece of wood. Leaving enough room between each washer so they will not touch one another and cause the circuits to be interrupted.
      0F0EA2C8-F82F-416D-B36F-73C148CCC3C5
    • Use a pencil to make a key for each washer. I drew arrows above the washers so I could use the keyboard for other activities in the future. I drew the vowels underneath the washers for the vowel intensive activity. I also drew a fun Makey Makey character because there was already a whole in the board.
      IMG_5732
  5. Hook up Makey Makey
    • Plug red usb cable into Makey Makey and into computer. (Close out any pops on computer) There should be a red light to indicate Makey Makey is plugged in correctly.
    • Connect one alligator clip inside the holes of each directional arrow and one to the space opening on Makey Makey.
    • Connect each alligator clip from the directional arrows and space to washers above a,e,i,o,u on newly created “industrial keyboard”
      img_5736.jpg
    • Connect one alligator clip to “Earth” at the bottom of the Makey Makey board and then either hold opposite end of alligator clip or clip it to yourself. I clipped it to my wedding ring so it would be touching my skin. (Metal part of alligator clip has to be in contact with your skin in order for Makey Makey to work)
      img_5734.jpg
  6. Time to play!
    • Open up the Piano app from Makey Makey
    • Give students a CVC word and see if they can identify the vowel sound in the middle of the word.
    • Enjoy listening to the music and watching your students have fun learning their vowel sounds!

I hope you enjoy making connections with your own maker kit! If you have any questions about how to connect your own Makey Makey project please feel free to contact me for help with trouble shooting options.

Resources:

Adams, Z. (2018, March). Vowel intensive with Makey Makey [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/T2q0oSZUUXI

Blossom, A. (2014, July). Makey Makey to teach Syllabication in Kindergarten [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37osveOCa4w

Makey Makey Quick Start Guide. (2012). Retrieved March 25, 2018, from http://www.makeymakey.com/howto.php

Mishra, P., & The Deep-Play Research Group (2012). Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: Crayons are the Future. TechTrends, 56(5), 13-16.

 

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