Students have had a fun past few days building their own controllers for games they coded on MakeCode Arcade. Makey Makey has been a wonderful tool in my Innovation and Design class as well as our Science classes. They can very helpful when it comes to teaching the concepts behind open and closed circuits and conductivity. Here is a link to some great lessons that Makey Makey have created to help introduce students and teachers to Makey Makey and how they work.
Here is how I approached the project with my students in case you want to replicate this in your class.
Step 1: Recall what circuits are and what conductivity means if they have already studies it or introduce the concepts and ask students to guess what they mean.
Step 2: Introduce or reintroduce the concepts of circuits and conductivity to students. Here is a great lesson from Makey Makey I used with students.
Step 3: Let students play with Makey Makey and let them figure out what is and is not conductive. Students are given brass brads, Play Dough, paperclips, alligator clips, and an arcade button. They access all the apps that Make Makey has to try and get the Makey Makey to work.
Step 4: Students use pencil and paper to design the controller for the game they created in the previous lesson. If your students have not created a game, you can let them choose from the games found on MakeCode Arcade.
Step 5: Students build their controller and test it on their games.
Step 6: Students post their work to their digital portfolio.
Here is an Instagram post that showcases some of the controllers that students made.
One of the things I added to the project were my homemade alligator clip buttons. I took alligator clips, cut them in half, and soldered the wire to a button. Now the students can just clip the alligator end to the Makey Makey to make a button work. The Instagram post below will show you how I did it.
What is great about this project is how the students have to work through the creation of circuits to make their controllers work. They explored different ways to make it possible to touch the ground and their other conductive items to complete the circuit. Other students figured out that buttons completed the circuit for them when they attached them to the Makey Makey and the ground. The goal of every project in my class is to get students to think about their design and the different ways it is possible to complete the task. Using a Makey Makey to create a controller is a wonderful way to reenforce important Science concepts while giving students a way to creatively demonstrate their understanding of circuits and conductivity. I encourage you to give it a try in your class.