Interactive MaKey MaKey Global Map

Introduction: Interactive MaKey MaKey Global Map

About: I am the Manager of the Mountain Lakes Public Library Makerspace. We work on a diverse set of creative projects: programming, robotics, 3d design & printing, digital art, story telling, building, and more…

Learn how to create a Makey Makey interactive map (which is really just a different form of a poster!). You will also get a look at a project that uses remapping, provides a helpful document to track your remapped connections, and how to seamlessly connect two MaKey MaKeys.


Makey Makey Classic, poster board, marker, brass tabs, and Scratch

Step 1: Create the Map (Poster)

Take a marker and draw the map! This map was drawn by an amazing artist who projected the world map onto the poster board and then traced it. I cannot do that, but I can trace and draw. Draw the map any way you like. Tracing paper for students would work perfectly. For this Makey creation, we focus on bringing the map to life with the 'brass tabs' and not the lines of the map themselves.

Step 2: Discuss Family Heritage + Geography

Have students think about and discuss their family heritage. Where were they born? Where were their relatives born? What languages do they or their families speak. Have students connect their heritage to the map by placing a brass tab through the map poster board of where their family is from. [The picture with step #2 was a project created by a family who recently moved from the Netherlands to the United States).

Educator Tip:

Just take a pencil and lightly poke a hole. The brass tab fits perfectly in.

Step 3: Program the Map

Before we create the Makey Makey connections, it is time to program using Scratch. There are a lot of ways students can express their family heritage through the interactive map and Scratch. One simple way to begin is to have the students learn how to a) use an 'Event trigger' b) Have the Scratch Cat say something and c) have students record their own voice speaking about their culture or speaking in a different language. There are so many different languages spoken in homes, it is a great way to let kids express their unique culture and engage other students to learn about their language and heritage.

Educator Tip:

If your Scratch Script screen looks a mess, don't worry! You can 'right click' on the Scratch Script screen and choose 'Clean Up'. This function will tidy up your screen. Enclosed are some Scratch Screenshots demonstrating how to record voices and use those recordings in your program.
Enclosed is the Scratch file we created, feel free to use it as a reference.

Step 4: Connect the Front of the Makey Makey

It is time to transform the digital with the physical world. In step #4 we use the front six connections to connect the alligator clips to the map. First, choose a Scratch 'Event Trigger'. Lets say 'Down Arrow'. Find the 'Down Arrow' joystick symbol on the Makey Makey and connect one end of the alligator clip to the Down Arrow connector. Next, take the other end of the alligator cilp and connect to the back of the brass tab.

Educator Tip:

  1. Label, label, label! Have students take masking tape and label both the Country and MaKey Key connection. Then wrap the tape around the corresponding alligator clip wire. This will save a lot of time as the projects get used as clips will fall out

  2. How to extend a connection - You can string together multiple alligator clips. [Or use something like old telephone wire or speaker wire

Step 5: Connecting the Back of the Makey & ReMapping

The front of your Makey has six connections. The back of the Makey has 12 additional possible connectors. At first, they look daunting. Do not worry!, Makey has made it really easy to use. First, take a Makey supplied jumper cable and plug one end into a back square slot that corresponds to your Scratch 'Event Trigger' connection, lets say 'W'. Once you connect the jumper cable into 'W', you can take an alligator clip and connect one end to the other end of the jumper cable. Then, you can connect the alligator clip to the back of the corresponding country 'brass tab'.

Educator Tip:

Makey Makey has excellent instructions and an Online App which lets you easily remap the back (and front) of the Makey Makey. I created a .pdf document which helps keep track of your remapped Makey Makey both visually and in a data form, so students can be organized!
Even the 'Click' on the Makey Makey can be re-mapped easily. In this example, I remap it to 'R'.

Step 6: Connect the Map Pointer

In picture #1 for step #6 you see the yellow alligator clip wire. That is connected to the 'Earth'. I extend the length of the pointer by adding more alligator clips. In picture #2, you see me interacting with the map by touching the alligator clip pointer to the brass tab. Success!

Step 7: Adding a Second Makey Makey

There are 2 Makey Makeys connected to one computer. To make them work as "one" device (and one Scratch program) connect the Earth alligator clip from Makey #2 to the Earth alligator clip from Makey #1, like you see below. The 'yellow' wire from Makey #2 is the Earth and I connected it to the 'orange' Earth wire from Makey #1. The Red Wire then acts as my extension cord for the pointer, so kids can easily point to anywhere on the map. I discovered this tip by watching a fourth grader work with Makey Makey last Spring. Now you have access to 36 possible connections, which will make for an amazing map! [Scratch triggers: A through Z and 0 through 9].

Educator Tip:

If something is not working properly, check all the connections:

  1. Is each Makey Makey connected to the computer
  2. Are the Alligator Clips / Jumper Cables connected to the Makey Makey
  3. Did an Alligator Clip fall off of a brass tab?
  4. Does the Scratch 'Event Trigger' match the Makey Makey trigger connections?
  5. Did you write down your remapping key!
  6. Is your Scratch cursor in a coding block 'box'? If so, click onto a blank spot on the Script screen or hit the Stop Sign. Then try again

Step 8: The Interactive Map in Action!

Check out the interactive map in action! I plan on leaving this interactive exhibit up in the public library, engaging patrons to explore the integration of geography, heritage, and technology. As many other wonderful Makey Makey projects have demonstrated, there are numerous ways to create interactive (museum like) projects, anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

Have fun!

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    3 years ago

    The unit of inquiry for this project was Around the World. Year five students decided to make an interactive map to share some information about countries they studied. First, each student chose a country to research. Then they made a powerpoint presentation for each country. We recorded the information from their presentations using an online voice recorder. Then students used Makey Makey and Scratch to program the map. Makey Makey is a tool that allows the user to make/program their own computer keys. By connecting the Makey Makey wires to a conductive material, in this case playdo, they made interactive buttons on the map. They uploaded their recordings to Scratch. In Scratch they programed the Makey Makey to play their voices when someone touched the playdo keys with their finger. After a series of trial and error, group work and lots of concentration the map worked! This is the Incredible Interactive Map by the Year 5 class.