Introduction: Makey Makey and Scratch Instrument

The Makey Makey Instrument is a great beginner project for students who have little experience with the Makey Makey. This project combines basic coding and hardware setup with a result that is easy and fun.

Students will need a basic introduction to the Makey Makey before attempting the project. I had students create drawings and use scratch to add sounds, use a switch to play games, and use playdoh as controllers for games before doing this project.

Step 1: Overview

Students will have to pick an instrument of their choice and get an image. You will be tracing, cutting the cardboard and attaching brass plated fasteners to the cardboard. The Makey Makey will be attached to the cardboard cut out and the brass plated fasteners to the cardboard instrument.

Step 2: Supplies

  1. Projector
  2. Computer
  3. Cardboard Box Cutter
  4. Thick Marker
  5. Brass Plated Fasteners
  6. Makey Makey
  7. Antistatic Strap

Step 3: Image Copy

Once the student has the image picked you will project it on the board or wall. Place the cardboard over the image to be traced. You can have the student hold the cardboard or tape in up. Use the thick black marker to outline the image. Use as much or little detail as you want.

Step 4: Cut Out the Image

After you have a copy of the instrument you will need to cut it out with the box cutter. I did this for the students so I didn’t have to worry about students cutting themselves. You will also need to make slits in the cardboard for the brass plated fasteners.

Step 5: Insert Fasteners

You will now insert the fasteners into the slits in the cardboard. It is important to make slits in the direction of the fasteners. The Fasteners will need to be bent to hold in place. If you don’t make the slits go in the opposite direction, you bend the fasteners and they may stick out from behind the instrument. You may need to cut the fasteners if they are too long. Scissors will work if you need to cut them.

Step 6: Attach the Makey Makey

In this step, you will attach the Makey Makey. To simplify this step, I had the students make their coding start with the highest note and go down to the lowest note. I also had them attach the alligator clips to the fasteners in the same way, with the highest note on top.

My hope was that this would make coding and set up easier to understand. I only have the event coding of when key is pressed and play sound. Scratch has many instruments sounds that are a great option. The coding is very basic and easily understandable for beginners.

We only used five slots on the Makey Makey. To add more notes you can use the backside with W through G. Be sure to tape down the cords so you can’t see them from the front.

Step 7:

The part of this project that makes it different from the other Makey Makey Instruments is how it is hands free. I have taken an antistatic band, made for handling computer components, and made it the earth.

The antistatic band is made to prevent a person’s built up static electricity from damaging computer components. The band has a piece of metal touching a person's skin and takes any electric charge through the alligator clip, which is then hooked to the computer case. This takes the charge and puts it into the case, instead of the computer components.

I have cut the band and added M3 velcro strips. This allows students to attach the band to a wrist or ankle. If a student wants to simulate a peddle for the piano they could attach it to their ankle. Connect the alligator clip from the band to the alligator clip connected to the earth on the Makey Makey. The connections allow students to use both hands on the instruments.

Step 8: Play

Have fun and rock on!