Makey Makey Game Controller Challenge


Less than 1 hr

About: Computers are going bananas! Use #makeymakey to practice invention literacy and connect the world to your computer.

Wanna get your whole school involved in coding and game creation? Maybe even challenge another school and host a maker faire? Connect with others by starting a #makeymakeychallenge and start building your maker community.


Makey Makey Classic, Cardboard, tape, tinfoil, wires, old electronics,

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Getting Started

NOTE: This lesson plan is intended for use by teachers, not as a project assignment for students. But you know, do whatever you want.

If you aren't already familiar with Scratch, take a look at the Getting Started guide and play around with the platform.

If you aren't already familiar with Makey Makey, take a look at the How To guide and play around with the Makey Makey.

Educator Tip:

Note on Standards

These lessons were developed with the idea that teachers all over the globe and a variety of grade levels could hack the lesson plan to meet their students' needs. Therefore, these are just some of the standards the lessons are based on, and not an all-inclusive list. Many of the CCSS align by grade level, so if you teach 9th grade, you could find the stair-stepped standard for CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6 by looking at CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.6.

Step 2: Invitation to Innovate

Find a program on the apps page or on Scratch.

Set up your Makey Makey and connect it to some objects!

Get a feel for mixing materials, a Makey Makey, and a Scratch program.

Set up computers and various conductive and non-conductive materials for your students to experiment with.

Step 3: Storyboard and Design

Create a storyboard for a game you'd like to create in Scratch.

Make a sketch of the controller you want to make to go along with your game.

Don't worry if your students aren't ready to make a sketch of their controller yet. It can change as they develop their game.

Step 4: Create Your Game

Code your game in Scratch!

Note: Your students may prefer to create the game and the controller simultaneously or separately- all that matters is that the concepts are held together with a common theme.

While your students work, demo some of the ways a Makey Makey can control a game. Create a graphite drawing controlling a Scratch Piano or make a Playdoh sculpture that resembles Tetris. Be imaginative and show the kids that adults can tinker too!

Step 5: Build Your Controller

Build a specialized controller for your game.

Bring in boxes and boxes of scrap and junk for students to tinker with. See if you can get some old electronics donated. Let students take things apart and use the old electronics for their game controllers. Also, give them a project shelf to store their creations over the course of your design challenge.

Step 6: Share Your Game

Share your project with another class or a guest.

Find an expert like another class who has completed the challenge, or a group in a makerspace with Makey Makey experience to conference with. Ask them to chat with your students. Let your students share ideas about their creations and gather feedback from the experts. This chat should help to, in the words of Jay Silver, "instill creative confidence" in your young makers.

Step 7: Set Up Game Installations

Create a gallery-like atmosphere in your class and set up your game.

Walk around and play everyone else's games. Write a n "I think" or "I wonder" statement about each game you try.

  • Have students set up games and controllers in a gallery setting like the library.
  • Give them clipboards and feedback sheets and allow them to try each other's controllers games and list some "I think" and "I wonder" statements about each game they try.
  • Allow students to read feedback and improve controllers as necessary.
  • Step 8: Mini Maker Faire

    Once games and controllers are finished, invite the community to your Makey Makey Maker faire!

    If you can, share your student products on social media and have them launch another classroom's Makey Makey Game Controller Challenge!

    Lesson based on our #MakeyMakeyChallenge with Diana Rendina.

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