Makey Makey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple invention kit for beginners and experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between.
With the Makey Makey, students can make any conductive material act as the input device for a computer. Because it comes preprogrammed, students with no coding experience can use it and learn to experiment with it as they start to learn coding.
Makey Makey believes that the Maker Movement is more than just robots, 3D printing, or STEM, or even building things. It allows students to become hardware engineers and solve real-world design challenges by providing a landscape that fosters curiosity and creates vibrant learners.
1. Say hello to your Makey Makey.
- Open up your Makey Makey box and look at all the components. NOTE: If you borrowed a Makey Makey from the "Educator's Kit" then you won't have items 4 and 5.
2. The Makey Makey has a "front" and "back". We'll be working on the front initially. Here's what the front looks like:
4. Plug in your Makey Makey to your computer.
- Small side of USB cable plugs into Makey Makey, big side plugs into computer.
Your computer simply thinks you've plugged in an external keyboard.
- Your computer may ask you to install drivers or do other setup. You can click cancel or close the window
5. Using your fingers, control the piano with your Makey Makey instead of the computer keyboard.
- Using your left hand, pinch the "Earth" bar at the bottom of the Makey Makey then use your right index finger and touch arrows to play the keyboard. See video below.
- HEY! If you were able to get the piano sound to play then you created a complete circuit!
- NOTE: When you touch the Earth and an arrow you'll see a little green LED (Light Emitting Diode) light appear next to that arrow. When the green light appears that tells you the Makey Makey is working.
- BONUS: Touch the "Earth" with the index finger on your left hand. With your right hand hold your partner's left hand. Have your partner touch an arrow on your Makey Makey with her/his right hand index finger. The piano should play a note. Explain why the piano works using this strategy.
- SUPER BONUS: Repeat the same activity as described above but add MORE people holding hands. How many people can you add AND have the piano play?
6. Connect one end of an alligator clip to “Earth” on the bottom of the front side of Makey Makey
Hold the metal part of the other end of the alligator clip between your fingers. You are now “grounded”. While you’re still grounded, touch the round “Space” pad on the Makey Makey with your other hand, you should see a green light go on.
You created a CIRCUIT (loop)!
Remember the following whenever you work with the Makey Makey:
"I want to control the ______ key on the Makey Makey. How will I connect that key to EARTH?"
7. Experiment Time! Find items in the room that are conductors and insulators.
- Connect one alligator clip to "earth" and a second alligator clip to "space" on the Makey Makey. These will act as your "test probes."
- With the piano program open and on your computer screen, touch the two alligator clips together. You should hear the piano.
- Now find items in the room and test to find out if they are conductive. Watch the video below to learn how this works.
- What's the most unusual item you can find that is a conductor?
8. Conductors and Insulators - What are they?
- The alligator clips are made of metal which is a good conductor. Some items are very poor conductors of electricity and these items fall into the category of "insulators". Watch the 30 second video below to learn about conductors and insulators