When my students were working on their cardboard mini golf courses, I casually suggested using a Makey Makey to make things interesting – and realized that I hadn’t yet introduced this group of kids to the wonders of this invention tool. When I saw a post from Colleen Graves about making interactive stories and poems using Makey Makey and Scratch, I knew this would be the perfect project for my 4th graders. They are studying literary masterpieces right now, and learning about figurative language. It seemed to be a natural transition from discussing onomatopoeia to designing simple Scratch programs that would allow us to add sounds using the Makey Makey.
After teaching some of the basics of Scratch, I showed the students an onomatopoeia poem to which I had added some heavily penciled symbols (the graphite will conduct if you lay it on pretty thick). I attached the Makey Makey to the symbols and my computer, and started my Scratch program, reading the poem and pressing the symbols at the appropriate moments. Then the students got to choose their own poems from some I had printed out to program in pairs. They got to share their creations on Seesaw, and were pretty excited about the way their projects turned out.
This was just the beginning. Now that the students know the concept, they will be able to apply it to poetry they will be writing in the next couple of weeks. I’m hoping to also guide them toward creating more complex artwork using copper tape or conductive paint for the Makey Makey triggers.
The Makey Makey was on “Gifts for the Gifted” list in 2014. Since then, I have seen many more uses for it. In fact, I just ordered Graves’ book, 20 Makey Makey Projects for the Evil Genius, which may keep my 4th graders busy for the rest of this year!