Introduction: Makey Makey/ Chibitronics Light-up Houses

Project Description:

Students learned how the Makey Makey works, how to create a 3D model on Tinkercad, and how to use Chibitronics to light up LEDs. Students used knowledge from multiple subjects, multiple topics, and their creative minds to create a multi-dimensional project. Students use the entire engineering process to create their houses.


Engineering: Throughout the project, students are emersed in the engineering and design process. From engineering their 3D model houses in Tinkercad, building their house out of cardboard, and adding the circuitry in the house so it lights up students.

Science: Due to the use of the Makey Makey and Chibitronics tools students need to have a foundational knowledge of circuits. Students need to know about how energy flows within an electrical current, types of circuits, and other topics. The class uses PHET online interactive circuits to review how electrical circuits work (link below).

Computer Science: Students learn how to use Students use to create a 3D model of a house using positive and negative space

Math: Tinkercad: students need to use geometric shapes and positive and negative space to create assignments House: students are required to use protractors and rulers to create a cardboard house. House had a required range of size it had to fall within. Students had to turn in an image with measurements on it demonstrating the ability to use a ruler and that their house fell within parameters.


3D Model

  • Computers or tablet
    • Access to Tinkercad

Building house

  • Cardboard
  • Box cutters
  • Hot glue sticks and gun
  • Rulers
  • Protractors

LIghting up house

  • Copper tape
  • Chibitronics LED's
  • Metal wire
  • Makey Makey Kit

Step 1: Introduction to Makey Makey and Electrical Circuits

Students are introduced to Makey Makey if not familiar with them through a simple activity. Students use the attached website to review or learn about parallel circuits vs non-parallel circuits. These activities and how these tools and topics are introduced can be done many ways and is dictated by the instructor.

Step 2: Designing House

Using Tinkercad students design a 3D house that they can then create using cardboard.

Students were introduced to Tinkercad through two challenges. Challenge one, create a nameplate that has items that represent you with items going both vertical and horizontal. It must be one piece and show an understanding of how to manipulate items in Tinkercad. Challenge two, create a character demonstrating an understanding of how to use positive and negative space in Tinkercad. Students use this knowledge to create their house that must have a door, windows, a roof, and an open back so you can see inside.

Step 3: Build Houses

Students use rulers and protractors to create a house out of cardboard that resembles their house that was designed in Tinkercad. Students cut all parts out of cardboard and then attach them using hot glue.

Students goal is to build their house based on the 3D model created in Tinkercad.

Step 4: Wire House

Ultimate project goal: Students use copper tape and Chibitronics LED's to light up cardboard houses


  1. Students map out where the copper tape is going to go creating parallel circuits so all LED's will have enough power to work.
    • Teacher checks off circuitry making sure it is a parallel circuit.
  2. Students place copper tape and LED's in their house to light up rooms.
    • Teacher checks off circuitry making sure it is a parallel circuit. If copper tape overlaps and creates a circuit that is not parallel it will not work.

  3. Students hook their house up to a previously setup Makey Makey. This ensures that the circuitry and LED's work.
    1. Teachers check off that LED's light up on student projects

Makey Makey wiring diagram posted in a picture attached.

Step 5: Finish Outside of House

Students finish the house by coloring outside to make it look finished. My students also created a base to put it on so it looked like a community of houses.

Teacher Contest

Runner Up in the
Teacher Contest