Review: Makey Makey

Makey Makey, Programs, Reviews

Robot Basics:

  • What is it?  Makey Makey is a micro-controller. By creating a circuit, Makey Makey takes over your keyboard
    As the box says,

    Plug it in, hook it up, make stuff happen on your computer

  • What’s in the Box?  A circuit board (the Makey Makey), seven alligator clips, a USB connector, and some wires.  Also, instructions and an idea sheet.

    What's in the Makey Makey box?

    What’s in the Makey Makey box?

  • How much? $49.95
  • Age Range?  Box says 8 to infinity.  My testers were 10 – 14
  • How we acquired it:  I used the Makey Makey my library purchased.

Ideas for use:

  • time involved Setting up was pretty easy.  MakeyMakey.com offers ideas on their site.  They have links to free programs.  I started by showing them the video that is on the MakeyMakey.com site. Then, we tried the bongos.  From there the piano, pac man, and other free online games.  The piano is my favorite, but without music to play it doesn’t really work.
  • extension activities: Using the MakeyMakey micro-controller with Scratch programming
  • one-time or recurring program:  It’s a one-time deal to learn but is open-ended; I would want to offer it open to people to explore the possibilities.
  • skills you need  Users need the ability to understand what a circuit is. It’s the most important part of the Makey Makey. Having said that, the best way to demonstrate what a circuit is, would be to use a Makey Makey.  This is definitely “learning by doing.”
  • other tools you need  Items that are conductive.  It would actually be a great activity… Have a box of items, a Makey Makey, and chart what materials are conductive. Predicting what is conductive is another activity.

Good stuff

At one point we tried playing Mario Brothers.  It wasn’t working and my participants were getting frustrated.  Which got me frustrated, how was I going to solve this? Then I started listening to them.  Guess what? Kids know how to problem solve.  They worked it out themselves and discovered that Mario Brothers isn’t the best game to learn Makey Makey.  We went back to Pac-man.  Each person taking a certain control (left arrow, for example).  They had to start talking to each other to decide which direction Pac-man would go.  Eventually, they decided to play the game As a single user. And they were competitive! I wasn’t expecting that. They wanted to see would could get the most points.

 

Frustrations

I wasn’t sure who was going to come, so I got out a second laptop.  This laptop wasn’t working. It’s a good thing that I had a small crowd, I would have needed that second one.

I think learning MakeyMakey is a great group activity. Having the ability to problem solve with your peers really helps figure out what is going on.  I could see individual use for gaming or for using with Scratch programs.

Ending Thoughts/Observations

I asked my group their general impression of Makey Makey: “great” and “fun” ruled the land.  When I do this again, I’ll have a variety of things to test conductivity.

It would be good to know how to use the back of the Makey Makey. You don’t need it to use the basic controllers, but it would be good to know in order to maximize its use

Rating

Easy Peasie Pie.  (This may not actually be an official rating of the Robot Test Kitchen, but it is for now!)

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