Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fun with Makey Makey

This week, I hosted my first "pop-up" Makerspace. I didn't go crazy, invite the whole middle school, or even bring out everything that I had snagged the day before at the Radio Shack sale. I simply invited 3 friends from 7th grade to join me in the un-boxing of the Makey Makey. I wanted to get their input not only on the product, but also on the whole idea of having a space to create, explore, and make. Before I proceeded with "MY" plan to build the space, I needed to hear ThEiR VOiCe. So, I started with just introducing the idea. I told them what I was thinking and asked them if they had ever heard of a Makerspace. Nope - nada - no idea what I was talking, I showed them the New Milford High Makerspace video. They were hooked!

Perfect time to open the Makey Makey.  I carefully pulled the components from their plastic packaging (and I noticed that the students handled them just as gently for the 90 minutes that we were together).  I showed them the video about what you can make with the Makey Makey and that was it.  The making began!  No other teacher-centered instructions were needed other than pointing them to the Makey Makey website.  Each student used a computer to research the possibilities.

First up, a play-doh joystick to play a little Pac-Man.

It was fun watching Eric build it, but it was even more delightful to see his initial reaction.

Sarah made a working guitar using cardboard and some coins.  
The hardest part?  Cutting the cardboard.

Of course, we had to try our hand at the bongos.
Derrick is in the percussion section of the band, so he was a pro!

Finally, the students worked together to compose a song that even I could play. 

I connected to the Makey Makey online piano and just followed the students' directions: left, left, space, space, click, click, space, down, down, right, right, up, up, left 
(This will be the perfect introduction activity to share with our Head of Schools when we introduce the idea of a Makerspace.  It was extremely easy and a whole lot of fun!)

I would have to say that my impromptu pop-up was a success. The students were ecstatic.  I heard comments like, "This is so cool!" and "This is better than recess in elementary school!", soon followed by the question, "Why can't school be like this?"  Great question, little friend.  It can be!


Kathleen said...

This is amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

Cindy Wallace said...

Thanks Kathleen! You must bring the boys by to play. Simon would love it!!!