Introduction: "What's for Dinner?" Menu Board
Do your children drive you crazy asking what is for dinner every night? Do your kids make terrible faces or groan whenever you tell them what the family will be eating that evening?
If so, then the "What's for Dinner" menu board is just for you! By utilizing a Makey Makey kit, a few standard art supplies, some conductive material and some recyclables, you can not only make dinner sound more appetizing, but you can also eliminate nightly nagging questions about dinner!
- Makey Makey kit and wires
- Chromebook, laptop or other Makey-Makey compatible device
- Scratch Account from Scratch.mit.edu
- Copper foil tape and/or aluminum foil
- Large pieces of flat cardboard in various thicknesses
- Glue stick and markers
- Craft knife
- Paint (spray paint is the easiest to use), colored paper and other decorative materials
Step 1: Determine Size of Board and Cut to Length
The first thing you will want to do is to figure out how large you want to make your menu board. Look around your kitchen and find a good place to keep the Makey Makey display where it will not get wet and where it is easily seen by your family members. You may also want to have an outlet nearby so that you can keep a chromebook, laptop or other device plugged in so that your menu board is available at all times of the day. I decided to make my menu board approximately 1.5' by 2.5'.
After you have found the ideal location, cut 2 pieces of cardboard. One will need to be a flat, poster-like piece of cardboard. This piece will serve as your main menu board. The second piece of cardboard should be a bit thicker. This will house the Makey Makey alligator clips and will need to be thicker. I found several pieces of cardboard 3/4" thick in Ikea flat pack furniture boxes. I then cut into into a piece that was approximately 6" x 18". If you do not have thick cardboard available to you, cut several pieces and glue them together to make one thicker piece.
Step 2: Make Your Menu Board Colorful
In order to add appeal to my menu board, I decided to use spray paint. Spray paint is a quick and easy way to create vibrant color that is sure to catch your family's attention. If you prefer, you can use poster paint or even colored paper to cover the cardboard. Because I used spray paint, I was careful to follow the instructions on the can and I sprayed the cardboard outside on a surface that was safe to get overspray on.
Step 3: Create Your Menu Art
Once my cardboard was dry, I decided to prepare the menu board itself. I created a title using cut paper, a sharpie and a glue stick. I also made labels for the days of the week schedule piece for my menu board. I also cut a slot in the menu board approximately 2" with my craft knife to allow the alligator clips to stay neatly behind the menu board. Finally, I cut a smaller piece of thick cardboard and glued paper to the front of it to create the menu button that my family members will use to touch the alligator clips attached to the Makey Makey so that it can do its thing!
Step 4: Assemble the Days of the Week Schedule Piece
Once all the labels were glued onto my Days of the Week schedule cardboard piece, I turned it over and marked X's in the middle of each day of the week. I then used a craft knife to slice an X that went all the way through to the other side. Once this was completed, I pulled the Makey Makey alligator clips through the schedule board piece so that the tips reached the other side.
Step 5: Create a Conductive Strip for Earth and for the Menu Button
Once you have pulled the alligator clips through to the other side, take a piece of copper tape (or thinly cut aluminum foil), and attach it to the back of the schedule piece very close to the backs of the alligator clips so that it will make a complete circuit. Also, turn the menu button over and cover it with aluminum foil to make it conductive.
Step 6: Code a Program Using Scratch
Once the menu board is ready to be interactive, you will need to create or adapt a Scratch program to make the Makey Makey interactive. My Scratch program can be found here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/409957264/
As you will see, I used the Makey Makey Extension in Scratch to make the coding easier. But before I recorded my menus in the Scratch program, I had to menu plan! Once I made my menu plan, I wrote menu-style food descriptions to make the food sound especially appetizing to my three teenagers.
Step 7: Attach the Makey Makey!
Once the Scratch program was ready, I attached the Makey Makey to the appropriate alligator clips and the computer to make my menu board come to life!