The Very MaKey-Caterpillar

Introduction: The Very MaKey-Caterpillar

The Very Makey-Caterpillar brings to life Eric Carle's classic story, 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. Perfect to introduce 4 year olds to the concept of Makey Makey and older students to engage them how old school literature is not only relevant today, but can be transformed with new technology and imagination.


Makey Makey Classic, fruit, crafting supplies to create caterpillar

Step 1: Lab Elements

Using the following elements, create your Makey-pillar and their trail of snacks.

1 MaKey Makey

6 Alligator Clips

4 Jumper Wires

1 Crafting Materials to Create Caterpillar

1 Piece Aluminum Foil

1 Apple, 2 Pears, 3 Blueberries, 4 Strawberries, and 5 Oranges

Educator Tip:

Any crafting material may be used to create the caterpillar, which also serves as an excellent take home project for students. Just make sure you attach something conductive on the end of the Makey-Pillar so it can interact with the fruit. I used aluminum foil, however anything conductive will work, including play doh.
Notice the jumper cables connecting the orange slices. By connecting the jumper cables from fruit slice to fruit slice, you are adding conductive wires that make each orange slice a new 'physical computer trigger' for your Makey-pillar. This is a cool way for students to extend their thinking about Makey Makey's possibilities and understanding of circuitry.

Step 2: The Makey-Pillar Challenge

It is springtime and caterpillars begin to transform into butterflies. Reading Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, students think about nature. Crafting a take home ‘MaKeyPillar’ with Pom Poms and bringing the story to life with Makey Makey will further engage students reading literacy and nature awareness. Using your lab elements:

1. Craft a caterpillar

2. Add Aluminum Foil as your conductive element to the caterpillar

3. Connect the ‘Earth’ Alligator Clip to the caterpillar’s Aluminum Foil

4. Connect Alligator Clips to ‘Space’, ‘Left’, ‘Right’, ‘Up’, and ‘Down’ of MaKey. Each 'keyboard trigger' represents a different fruit.

5. Time to create your storyboard and program

Step 3: Programming Elements

Event Trigger

Character [Sprite] Creation


Creating Sounds

Integration of numbers and words for early learners

--Using Scratch programming, take your story board and transform into 'coding' language. Students can add their own voices to tell the story, create their own sprites (characters), take photos and use them as sprites, and more!

I used different fruits for the caterpillar to interact with. A student may look at the story different and create a scene where the caterpillar spends all day eating one apple. Let students explore their own creativity in re-creating 'A Very Hungry Caterpillar' with Makey Makey.

Educator Tip:

Great troubleshooting experiment - What happens when the juice of the oranges touches a strawberry??
Don't worry about the programming. Enclosed is a copy of a Scratch program that you can model your own after or just get ideas. You can always just set up a simple demonstration for younger students and / or have older students transform their storyboard with simple programming commands.

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