Interactive Lego Pop-Up Book With Makey Makey

Introduction: Interactive Lego Pop-Up Book With Makey Makey

About: Kristina A. Holzweiss, MLIS, is an ed tech specialist librarian a Syosset High School in Syosset, New York. She earned her bachelor’s in English from Adelphi University, her master’s in English from Queens Col…

Can you believe that I have never owned my own Lego set? I can't tell you how much money I have invested in Lego sets for my children. I should have bought stock in Lego years ago! But, until recently, I never had a kit of my very own until my sister bought the "Once Upon a Brick" Lego Pop-Up Book kit from the Ideas series featuring the stories of Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. It was the perfect gift for me because I am a school librarian, and I have always loved pop-up books.

I wanted to customize my creation and take it to the next level by making the characters "speak" using Scratch code and Makey Makey. I think this display in my Innovation Lab will inspire students to think of ways to combine low tech making with coding. I also thought that this project would help students who are kinesthetic, audio, and visual learners. Young children, special education students, and English language learners can especially appreciate this interactive Lego pop-up book because the characters can only "speak" when they make contact with the copper tape.

Imagine a hands-on learning project that integrates learning about literature, circuits, and coding! I think this project will inspire students to create interactive pop-up books using whatever they find around the house.

Supplies

  • Lego "Once Upon a Brick" Lego Pop-Up Book kit (Ideas series #21315) OR create your own design using random Legos
  • Makey Makey kit
  • Conductive copper tape
  • Scissors
  • Chromebook or laptop
  • Scratch program (available at https://scratch.mit.edu)

Step 1: BUILD YOUR LEGO STORY SCENE.

If You Have the Lego "Once Upon a Brick" Kit

  1. Open the box.
  2. Remove the bags of bricks and direction book.
  3. Make sure that you have all of the bags that you will need to build your kit.
  4. Open bag number 1.
  5. Follow the directions to build the kit.
  6. When you are finished with the contents of bag number 1, proceed to bag number 2.
  7. Continuing following the directions to build the kit.
  8. Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 until you have finished building the kit.

If You Do Not Have the Lego "Once Upon a Brick" Kit

  1. Decide which scene of a story that you will recreate.
  2. Plan the scene by drawing it on a piece of paper.
  3. Make a list of which bricks you will need, as well as minifigures as characters of the story.
  4. Search your collection to locate the pieces and minifigures that you will need, or purchase them.
  5. Build your scene.

Step 2: PROGRAM THE SCRATCH CODE FOR ADDING AUDIO ELEMENTS TO YOUR LEGOS.

*NOTE: The Lego "Once Upon a Brick" Pop-Up Book kit includes 4 characters, 1 house, and 2 pieces of furniture. For these instructions, I have added audio to all 4 characters as well as the house. You may choose to add or eliminate audio to certain pieces. If you build your own scene, you will decide how many items to add audio elements too. The process is the same for coding audio elements, regardless of which Lego piece you are using.

  1. Create a Scratch account to save all your work at https://scratch.mit.edu.
  2. Click "CREATE" in the upper left hand corner to create a new project.
  3. Click the yellow "EVENTS" button on the left hand side.
  4. Choose the "WHEN SPACE KEY PRESSED" block and drag it into the empty workspace to the right.
  5. Click the magenta "SOUND" button on the left hand side.
  6. Choose the "PLAY SOUND MEOW UNTIL DONE" block and drag it into the empty workspace to the right. Position it immediately under the "WHEN SPACE KEY PRESSED" block until it clicks.
  7. Click the arrow next to "MEOW" on the "PLAY SOUND MEOW UNTIL DONE" block, pull down the menu, and click "RECORD."
  8. Click the "RECORD" button, and record yourself telling the story. Tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood if you have the "Once Upon a Brick" Pop-Up Book, or tell the story of the scene that you created.
  9. Move the bars on the left and the right sides to trim the sound as needed.
  10. Press "SAVE" and then rename your sound to "story."
  11. Create an "EVENT SPACE KEY PRESSED"/"PLAY SOUND MEOW UNTIL DONE" combination for each of the characters in your scene.
  12. For each new combination choose another space choice for "EVENT SPACE KEY PRESSED." It is easier to use the up, down, left, and right arrow keys than the letters. Record and save an audio element for each character.
  13. Continue until you have save and recorded all of the audio elements that you will need for your scene.

Step 3: PREPARING THE LEGOS FOR INTERACTIVITY USING THE CONDUCTIVE COPPER TAPE AND MAKEY MAKEY.

*NOTE: The Lego "Once Upon a Brick" Pop-Up Book kit includes 4 characters, 1 house, and 2 pieces of furniture. For these instructions, I have added audio to all 4 characters as well as the house. You may choose to add or eliminate audio to certain pieces. If you build your own scene, you will decide how many items to add audio elements too. The process is the same for coding audio elements, regardless of which Lego piece you are using.

  1. First, we will prepare the house. Estimate and cut 2 pieces of conductive copper tape the length of one side of the house, to extend past the outer border of the book.
  2. Remove the back and stick one piece on the book under the house, and extend it beyond the book.
  3. Remove the back and stick the other piece on the underside of the house, leave some slack (for the house to fold back into the book), and extend it beyond the book.
  4. Clamp one end of an alligator clip from the Makey Makey kit onto one piece of conductive copper tape that extends beyond the book. This will be the "EARTH" clip. Clamp the other end of this alligator clip to an "EARTH" space on the Makey Makey
  5. Clamp one end of another alligator clip onto the other piece of conductive copper tape that extends beyond the book. This will be the "SPACE" clip. Clamp the other end of this alligator clip to the "SPACE" on the Makey Makey kit.
  6. Now we will prepare the "EARTH" for the minifigures. Cut a third piece of conductive copper tape about 6 inches long. Remove the back and stick this in front of the house, and extend it beyond the book.
  7. Clamp one end of a third alligator clip onto the end of this conductive copper tape. This will be an "EARTH" clip for all of the minifigures. Clamp the other end of this alligator clip to an "EARTH" space on the Makey Makey. *NOTE: You create an "EARTH" for each of your minifigures or one "EARTH" to trigger all of them. If you create only one "EARTH" you must use place each minifigure on the conductive copper tape only one at a time.
  8. Lastly, we will prepare the minifigures. Cut a small piece of conductive copper tape and attach it down the back and onto the bottom of a minifigure. Clamp one end of an alligator clip onto the this conductive copper tape. Clamp the other end to the arrow direction on the Makey Makey that corresponds to the audio element that you recorded for each minifigure in step 2.
  9. Repeat step 8 for each of your minifigures.

Step 4: TESTING THE FINAL PROJECT.

  1. Insert the USB mini end of the cable into the USB mini slot of the Makey Makey.
  2. Insert the USB end of the cable into your laptop or Chromebook.
  3. Go to the Scratch program for the audio elements at https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/389225930
  4. Click the blue "SEE INSIDE" button in the upper right hand corner.
  5. If you used the Lego "Once Upon a Brick" pop-up book kit, open and close the book to activate the story audio element. Check the conductive copper tape, alligator clips, and other connections that they are making contact. Make sure the audio element matches the direction on the Makey Makey. Adjust as needed.
  6. Place each figure individually on the conductive copper tape to activate their respective audio elements. Check the conductive copper tape, alligator clips, and other connections that they are making contact. Make sure the audio element matches the direction on the Makey Makey. Adjust as needed.
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    Comments

    0
    MakeyMakey
    MakeyMakey

    1 year ago

    We love it, Kristina! Thanks so much for sharing this making and writing activity!