Ever since I got the first Makey-Makey, just before school let out last June, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to introduce them in Code Club.
I gained more experience with them at the Scratch@MIT2016 Convention when I participated in the Code Create Art Alive workshop. In the Fall, I did introduce the Makey-Makey devices to some 4th graders at alternative recess but not at Code Club or with a whole class. There was so much coding to learn and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what it would look like. Finally, last week in Code Club, I brought out the Makey-Makeys (we have 7 of them), some bananas, potatoes, foil, junk building supplies and it happened.
We talked about conductors, making a closed circuit, connecting to ground/earth, etc. There were many questions related to dangers of electricity since you plug it into the computer and the computer is plugged into the main current.
I showed them the Makey Makey piano, with bananas of course. Then I showed them how to use it with games they have already made – like the race game. For that, I had mocked up a pressure sensor (to step on) from a padded envelope. It worked really well with the race game.
Then I introduced Whack-a-Potato that I found from the Makey-Makey lessons and also on Instructables. I made a Whack-a-mole (squirrel) Scratch project and improved my code by looking at Scratcher tarmelop’s Whack-a-Ghost project.
I put together a Google Doc with the instructions for the students. It is not a polished learning guide, just the basics for them to code up a Whack-a-mole game.
I few students got to work on the Whack-a-Potato project. Others wanted to pursue a Makey-Makey music themed project or paint project. A few just set up a Makey-Makey to work with a project they had already built.
It was great to see the students try things. I hope this inspires the students to think of incorporating Makey-Makey devices with their final individual projects. I am hoping that is where this will lead.