The 5th grade students are having themselves quite the time in Nerdvana lately. Thankfully, I am allowed 35-40 minutes each rotation of our 8 day cycle to have some fun with these awesome students.
A few weeks back we started working with MakeyMakey and I can definitely say that all the students were absolutely confused and excited when I handed them the little green box. The box contained wires, a USB cable, some stickers and the MakeyMakey. The students had no idea the power they held in their hands.
I presented them with some quick instructions. A set of 10 Macs were set up and already displaying the MakeyMakey piano website. I went over the proper connection with the MakeyMakey to the Mac and then conducted a brief tutorial. The MakeyMakey is basically a keyboard emulator but also so much more!
The lesson: To demonstrate a complete electrical circuit with the students being a part of the circuit.
The picture above is what the MakeyMakey looks like. So with the piano website open on each Mac the students were asked to play the piano using the buttons on the MakeyMakey. Confusion, pure confusion fell over the entire room..another demonstration was in order. I proceeded to talk about a circuit and how in this case one hand need to be touching the Earth or Ground Bar on the MakeyMakey and the other hand hitting one of the buttons on the MakeyMakey. Once that instruction sunk in the room was filled with not so pleasant sounds of piano…however the kids were having a blast.
The next challenge was to play a piano note by giving your partner a high five. One student’s hand was on the up arrow, the other student’s hand was on the Earth and their other hands giving the high five. The circuit was complete and again the room was filled with not so pleasant sounds of piano…however, the kids were having fun.
I then handed out Play D’oh. I asked if they thought they could complete a circuit using Play D’oh. A few thought they could and a few thought that there was no way it could be done. We had a brief discussion on the word CONDUCTIVE. Much to their surprise they found out that Play D’oh was CONDUCTIVE. They also learned that graphite from their pencil, as well as a banana, was CONDUCTIVE.
We had way too much fun at school on this day. To say that they were blown away by playing a piano with Play D’oh is an understatement.
Click here to see the 5th graders in action.
Preview – Next lesson will be a Scratch introduction, then a combination of MakeyMakey and Scratch and who knows where we will travel next. Stay tuned.
Photo Credit: https://cdn.sparkfun.com/assets/0/3/9/2/7/52e943cdce395f42108b4569.png