Techie Talk- Makey Makey and SCRATCH

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dusting off my dear old site and finally sitting down to post!  I have a million ideas running around in my head of great blog posts {classroom reveal, my old Daily 5 routines, some 'bright ideas', reading binders, the list goes on and on} but before this idea turns into one of those "To Write" posts I wanted to share about a super cool technology/STEM activity I participated in yesterday.

I am finally starting out at my *new* school this week {and literally cannot contain my excitement!}.  Anyway, during our first two days of orientation our technology guy, Josh, decided to flip our usual tech training on its head.  Rather than walking us through usual steps of how to set up email and blah, blah, blah; he actually gave us the techie toys our kiddos use for us to play around with and experiment.  Much more interactive and, in my case, quite humbling.

We started off using Animationish {animation software} which was fun to play around with and brought me right back down to earth with the reality of my artistic skills.  This is definitely something to check out for your little cartoonists.   I felt my brain going into overdrive thinking of possible literacy/writing connections.  Animate a short story, write/read sight words then make them move {or for my new kinders, letter identification/recognition).  Definitely check it out!

Next up was ... (drumroll, please...) creating a musical instrument using Makey Makey  and Scratch. Once again, my artistic skills were feeble at best, but nonetheless, it was an awesome, awesome experience.  Here goes...

In my very primitive knowledge based off of yesterday's experiment, a Makey Makey  is basically a tech tool that allows you to essentially turn anything (that can conduct electricity) into a touch sensitive control panel- create sounds, movement, or utilize any object as a joystick or game controller.  The options are truly limitless.  Watch a video on what I am trying to explain here.

For Josh's demo he hooked the Makey Makey wires (alligator clips) up to balls of playdoh and when he pressed them, they played sounds! Yes- playdoh played actual music when tapped! While I was too intrigued at the moment to whip out my phone and take a video, I found a similar video on youtube that demonstrates what I am trying to inarticulately explain.  He had programmed this using Scratch software.  What does that mean?????

Josh took the balls of playdoh and hooked the alligator clips and wires onto the playdoh.  The other end of the clip was attached to the master keyboard.

Using the Scratch software he controlled what he wanted the playdoh to do when touched, in this case, it played the sound of a piano.

Then he Beethoven-ed himself away!

For my instrument, I cut a piece of cardboard into a large trapezoid shape and sectioned it off into strips.  I then took copper tape (an excellent conductor, tin foil would have worked too) and attached a piece to each strip. I then programmed each strip to correspond with a different sound using the Scratch software.

 Lastly, I painted each strip a shade of pink.  The largest strip was the darkest and the smallest was the lightest.

The way I programmed my Makey Makey was to make the darkest strip the loudest and the smallest and lightest strip the softest.  I could envision doing a cross-curricular lesson on art, sound, and size.  The darker a color, the more intense it is, hence a louder sound.  As you add white, it becomes softer and lighter.

I would love to do an activity were the students make letters out of playdoh or wikistix and then record the sound the letter makes.  They could then travel around the classroom to each others' letters and say the sound of said letter.  To check if they were correct or not, at the end they could hit the letter and hear the correct sound!

Anyone else ever use Scratch or Makey Makey?  Let's share ideas!  Comment below :)

I am super excited to be working with Josh this year and look forward to sharing more intriguing techie toys with you!

Add a comment »

Leave a Reply