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CONTROLLING YOUR COMPUTER WITH THE MAKEY MAKEYNow that you have the Makey Makey connected to your controls you need something interesting for it to control on your computer. The circuit board contains signals for the arrow keys (left, right, up, down) as well as the click and space bar. On their own these controls don’t let you do much. Thankfully MIT has another project called Scratch which allows you to create simple programs (without needing any programming knowledge) and use your Makey Makey to control them. Even better, there are a ton of projects already in Scratch that have been designed for the Makey Makey. You can jump right into one of those without doing any program building. We connected our circuit board to some craft sticks covered in foil to create a mini drum set using this Scratch project (https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/2728243/). A quick search of Scratch shows many projects set up to work with the Makey Makey including mini Mario and Pac-Man games, piano and drum simulators and a ton of other creative projects.
Timing Hot Wheels CarsOne of the cool projects we saw on Scratch was one designed to measure the speed of a car on a Hot Wheels track. It was a slightly more complicated project because it required building a couple of switches that are triggered when a hot wheels car passes them. We created two switches using LEGO and foil. The switches were designed so that when the car hit the LEGO bar it was pushed into another piece of foil that was connected to the Earth cable. When the two pieces of foil touched it completed the circuit which sent the command to the computer. We used one switch to start the timer and the other switch to stop the timer. This gave us a time for how long it took the car to make it around the track. The Makey Makey is definitely an interesting tool for science and technology discovery. It allows for a lot of creativity and you can find all sorts of interesting project examples online. For older kids the ability to create their own computer programs for the Makey Makey adds a whole other level of learning and creativity.
Have you used the Makey Makey before? What do you like to use it for?
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