Introduction: Makey Me a Chair!

In this two or three part lesson, students work through basic Makey Makey understanding and then design a chair to suit a user. Students follow a design thinking process.

Once they have created their chair and made the prototype, students connect parts of the chair to the Makey Makey (and Scratch!) to display to the user to explain the 3 reasons why the user should choose/buy their chair design.

Here is a link to the slides that guide this lesson:

You can find a template of my Scratch code here:


  • Makey Makey
  • Playdough
  • Other non-conductive building materials such as lego etc
  • Conductive split pins
  • Paper, pens
  • Makey Makey capable device

Step 1: Getting Familiar With Makey Makey (optional)

This is an optional step if students are familiar with how Makey Makey works.

If not:

Introduce Makey Makey:

I always start with the banana piano as it really gets the students curious and excited, especially if they haven't seen it before!

Then we explore- they have a go with playdough and try to create the bongo drums and if they master that- the piano!

Step 2: Learning to Use Scratch & Makey Makey

Using the Scratch 'Orchestra' template found below, students tinker with and explore creating sounds using the music blocks on Scratch.

Find it here:

If you have time... you may like to explore this side project:

Step 3: Thinking About the User: Making a Game Controller

The next challenge is about starting to make something user friendly.

The task: How might you create a controller that requires no explanation and is easy to use to play Pac Man.

Students are given a set amount of time to create their controller.
Give students materials such as playdough, other conductive items, pen, paper etc to build their controller.

Then once time is up, get groups or students to rotate around the controllers and test each others.

You may like to use this feedback form here

Or encourage verbal feedback.

Step 4: Interview Your User

In this step,

Students learn to understand the user- the key here is EMPATHY- can you understand what your user needs, wants and feels?

"Lara" is our user. Students take turns to role play. One student is the interviewer and the other is Lara.
The user asks questions and "Lara" answers. The interviewer writes down the key points from what Lara is saying. At the end of the role play, the interview repeats/summarises back to Lara what they heard and checks for any missed points or misunderstandings.

Then swap!

Step 5: Ideate- the Crazy 8's!

In this step, students have 40 seconds to note down possible chair options. They keep Lara's needs, wants and feelings in mind.

Students take an A4 piece of paper and fold it so there is 8 squares or boxes.

The ideas can be as 'crazy' as possible. The main aim is to just get all ideas on paper. No idea is a bad idea.

If the students are working in groups they pass the paper around the group swapping and taking turns after each 40 second timeframe.

At the end of the "Crazy 8's" students choose or combine ideas to create a final chair design. They draw it and label it on a seperate piece of A4.

Step 6: Prototyping!

Students use materials (lego, popsicle sticks etc) to bring their design to life.
TIP: use non-conductive materials so it doesn't interfere with the Makey Makey later

Step 7: Test and Feedback

During this stage students rotate around the groups, with 3 sticky notes, giving feedback about what they like about each chair design and what could be improved.

Step 8: Launch!

During this stage, students make any final changes and updates to their design, based on the feedback and then pick the top 3 reasons why Lara should choose their chair.

Encourage students to justify why they created the parts of the chair they did- how does it relate back to Lara.

EG: we added a footrest because Lara said that she gets sore feet.

Step 9: Let's Makey Makey It!

During this step, students connect split pins or paper clips or playdough to the 3 best parts of the chair they want to explain to Lara.

Use scratch code it to explain that part of the chair when it is pressed.

Here is the basic Makey Makey/Scratch template on Scratch:

Students set it up so that it becomes an 'exhibition' for others to explore and interact with.

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