Introduction: Plant Cell Operation With Makey Makey

This is an easy DIY operation game that can be used in multiple content areas in your classroom or just for fun! My students are learning about cells and parts of the cell. We thought it would be fun if the students could make it into a game like operation.

How To Play: Students take turns trying dissect each part of the cell. If the student hits any part of the interior of the cell, an alarm will go off and the next student takes a turn. Whoever has the most cell parts at the end of the game wins!

Content Notes: In this game, every time the interior is touched by the Makey Makey, the Scratch project will display a message such as, "Careful! The Cell Wall protects the cell!." Students define each part the cell in the error message. This project can be adapted to many different concepts such as parts of a flower or the seven continents!


Card Stock

Cell Templates

Color Printer


Aluminum Foil


Makey Makey Kit (includes Makey Makey, usb cable, aligator clips and extra wires)


Scratch (online coding platform)

Step 1: Step 1: Set Up Cell Template

Print out the plant cell template onto an A4 heavy duty white card stock paper. It is important to print it on something thicker than regular printer paper. Identify each cell part and cut out the layout. Make sure to leave enough space so that the Makey Makey alligator clip can actually grab part of the cell. Then trim each cell part and make sure they fit in each space. Each cell piece should be about a few cm from the edge.

*The blue vacuole is very large, so we decided to cut a piece of it out. It makes it easier to dissect and connect to the Makey Makey.

Step 2: Step 2: Add Aluminum Foil

In order to use the Makey Makey for this project, it needs something conductive to send a signal to the computer and back when each part of the cell is touched. Aluminum foil is a perfect conductor for this project and easy for students to use.

Turn over the cut out cell and attach aluminum foil to each hole of the cell using scotch tape. It is very important to make sure each part does not touch any other parts of the cell. This will send the wrong signals back to the computer and the game will not be accurate. The foil is very easy to maneuver and bend to fit around each hole. We covered each hole loosely with foil to form a pocket for each cell piece.

Step 3: Step 3: Attach Makey Makey Alligator Clips

Attach one alligator clip to each cell foil pocket. We attached the clips towards the center to the foil pockets. Next connect the clips to the Makey Makey:

Space- Cell Membrane

Up Arrow- Vacuole

Left Arrow- Mitochondria

Right Arrow- Chloroplast

Down Arrow- Nucleus

W- Cell Wall*

In order to connect your last alligator clip to W, turn over the Makey Makey and find the W female connector. Next, take a male wire and plug it into the W key connector. Attach the other end of the male wire to the alligator clip.

Connect the last alligator clip to Earth. This clip will act as the surgical tweezers for the game. Students will use this alligator clip to remove each part of the cell. This clip completes the circuit and when it touches the aluminum foil it creates a connection which sends a signal to the Makey Makey.

Step 4: Test It!

Connect the usb to the Makey Makey and your computer. Take the earth wire (surgical tweezers) and touch the foil part of your cell. If you see the Makey Makey light up for each part (space, right arrow etc), your connections are good. If you don't see a response, check your alligator clips for each cell part they might not be connected or loose.

Step 5: Step 5: Connect to Scratch and Play

Use the link here to access the Scratch project. Start the project by clicking on the green flag. Test the connections with the Earth wire (surgical tweezers) to make sure all of the connections work. Place all of the cell pieces into their corresponding aluminum pockets. Now you are ready to play!

If you want to adapt this project click on Remix and save it to your own projects. Now you can edit any of the code or add any facts about your cell.

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