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Makey Makey is an invention kit that allows you to turn everyday items into a touch pad that can be used to control your computer. But it is much more than just a replacement for your keyboard – by integrating Makey Makey with Scratch, you can now bring control and sensing to your programs.
So what is so cool about Makey Makey?
Well, you can turn just about anything that is conductive into an input device for your computer. Tin foil, fruit and veg, by drawing with a normal pencil, the list goes on and on.
Your students will learn about conductivity as well as getting to design their own input device or add additional functionality to their Scratch programs.
With one hand, touch the earth on the Makey Makey and play the play dough bongos with the other hand
Toy car timing gates
Now try integrating your Makey Makey with a Scratch program. This one times a small toy car travelling along a track. You’ll need some card, split pins, paperclips, a car and some track. You’ll also need Scratch running on a computer with your Makey Makey connected to it.
Using card, paper fasteners and paper clips, make some gates to suit your car track similar to these shown. The aim is to make the paperclips touch when the gate is closed and so they can be pushed open by the car as is passes though.
Place the gates one metre apart near then end of the track
Connect one side of each gate to the earth of the Makey Makey
Connect the first gate to the space pad and the second gate to the left arrow
In Scratch, create the program as shown and run it
Make sure both gates are closed, the program will prompt you if they aren’t. You will also see green lights on the Makey Makey next to the arrow and space keys if your gates are closed
Run the car down your track – the program will time how long it takes to pass between the two gates
Can you modify the program to tell you the speed in metres per second?