Makey Makey Tiny Museum!

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About: Elem. school tech specialist passionate about arts + tech + global ed. Scratch fan since 2009; Makey Makey educator; ISTE member; creator of #ScratchPals. Enjoy tinkering (inspiration = Tinkering Studio)...

In this hands-on collaborative project, students create an interactive “Tiny Museum” to showcase their learning at the end of a unit, quarter, or year. Each of the “rooms” in this museum holds miniature artifacts: models, artwork, graphs, photos, quotes, handicrafts...anything that’s tiny enough to fit inside! How is it interactive? Each room is “wired” with copper tape, and the museum is connected to a Makey Makey. When a museum room door is opened wide, contact is made and a nearby laptop or TV monitor provides a visual and/or audio for that room, programmed in Scratch. Perfect for any educational setting or content area, the interactive Tiny Museum is a fun way to “show what you know!”

Supplies:

Makey Makey Classic, Makey Makey Inventor Booster Kit, laptop, speakers, alligator clips, jumper wires, copper tape (with conductive adhesive), brad clips, hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, poster board x7, electrical tape or duct tape, scissors, cardboard, masking tape, basic craft materials (construction paper, felt pieces, fabric scraps, paint, markers, etc.)

Step 1: Assign Museum Rooms to Students

  1. Depending on the total number of students involved, each room can be assigned to a small group, with each group responsible for the construction, artifacts, digital backdrop, and narration for its room. Or, each group can be assigned a mini-museum (eg. 4 rooms total), with each person responsible for one room.
  2. Each room (or mini-museum) can focus on specific academic content, eg. a unit, theme, genre, scientific principle, historic time period, geographic location, etc.

Educator Tip:

Create a Tiny Museum planner template and an assessment rubric; provide these to students at the beginning of the project.

Step 2: Make the Museum Rooms

  1. Teacher traces a 2-D pattern for a 3-D cube onto a poster board sheet, marking folds and adding tabs
  2. Students cut out and fold each shape, repeating to make the desired number of cubes for the same number of museum rooms
  3. Working with one cube at a time, teacher assists students in checking the cube shape and hot gluing tabs. Each front cube face must be left unglued.
  4. Allow all cubes to cool.

Educator Tip:

  • Train students in the safe use of hot glue guns
  • The poster board 2-D cube measurement shown here is approx. 21” wide by 28” long (resulting in a 7” square cube)
  • Tabs can be on any of the sides (be sure that each glued edge has one tab to hold it in place). The front side of the box does not need tabs.

Step 3: Create the Miniature Artifacts

  1. Students brainstorm and design the specific artifacts to create for each room.
  2. Using recyclable/craft materials and/or printed materials such as photos, students create the artifacts.

Educator Tip:

  • Students should be sure to check cube dimensions before making artifacts -- they need to fit easily inside a museum room!
  • The amount of detail and complexity required can be adjusted to the age and ability levels of the students.

Step 4: Produce the Scripts, Narration, & Digital Displays

  1. Students write the museum narration. They can program this narration in Scratch by recording their voices and using “Play sound” blocks, or by typing individual sentences into “Say” blocks. They can also use the Text to Speech extension to have different sprites read the script aloud.
  2. After recording / typing narration, students create one backdrop (using photos, digital drawings, or images from Scratch’s backdrops library) to be displayed while each room’s narration is playing. Students may also choose to program music in their Scratch project. The initial sprite (photo or character, for instance) is programmed with a short script for each museum room. As an example, each script could have these blocks: “When X key pressed, hide, switch backdrop to x, play sound X until done, switch backdrop to x, show” (see images).

Educator Tip:

  • Since Scratch is not a “multiplayer” tool, there will be only one Scratch project per museum; one student should be chosen to create that project from within his / her student Scratch account.
  • To make the programming tasks more collaborative, the “main” Scratch project creator can import others’ backdrops and “play sound” blocks using the Backpack feature.
  • It is helpful to have one backdrop that will be viewed as a default when none of the room doors are open.

Step 5: Connect the Museum Rooms

  1. Place museum rooms in a long line with their open sides all facing the same way
  2. Divide the line into groupings according to final configuration (for example, 2 cubes + 3 cubes + 2 cubes for the seven-room museum in these photos, or another configuration such as 2+ 2+2 or 1+2+1)
  3. Hot glue together the touching sides of the cubes from one side, then repeat with the front cubes, then finish with the other side cubes
  4. Use electrical or duct tape to create a soft "hinge" in between the side groups and the front group
  5. Place the line of cubes in a squared U shape (as shown in this photo of the finished product)

Educator Tip:

Be sure not to glue together the sides of cubes that will be separated when the museum is in its “U” shape!

Step 6: Decorate the Museum Room Doors

  1. Cut construction paper to cover each door on the outside.
  2. Create labels for each door to indicate the theme of that room. Glue them in place.
  3. Add "Lift" tabs at the bottom of each door.

Step 7: Wire the Museum

  1. Determine who will do this step; it is best for one to three people. (If working with young students, the teacher might lead the wiring with one or two student helpers. Older students can work in a pair to complete the wiring.)
  2. Start by taping the ground wire (copper tape) onto a little cardboard “flap” on the back left side of the museum, and then running along the top of the cubes, close to the edge. When arriving at the separated boxes of the “U,” fold the tape over itself to run the tape along the back of the boxes and then up again to the top (refer to photos for a visual)
  3. Wire the museum room doors: run the tape on the inside part of the front door of each museum room, starting at the bottom and working the tape up into the “ceiling” of each room. Have that tape extend to the back of the room, covering the length of the ceiling. At the end of the ceiling, continue to press the tape down about 1” from the ceiling. Leave a “tail” copper tape that can be slipped through a hole in the back of the museum room and folded over the hole (that is where the alligator clip will be attached to the back of each museum room).
  4. On each museum room door, make a hole where the tape begins, and poke a copper brad clip through it so that the brad “button” is on the outside of the door. Open the brad so that it is touching the copper tape on the inside of the door. Make sure that there is contact, adding additional copper tape as needed.

Educator Tip:

  • Demonstrate to students how to apply the copper tape carefully so as not to tangle or otherwise waste it.
  • You might consider making a little “bridge” of cardboard on the crease of the door and running the tape over that bridge. This would help decrease wear-and-tear on the tape at that joint.

Step 8: Install Tiny Exhibits in the Museum Rooms

  1. Glue in place any wall coverings: miniature paintings, photos, signs, etc.
  2. Place the previously-created exhibit artifacts in each room

Educator Tip:

You might attach a piece of yarn or string to a removable object, and hot-glue the other end to the inside of the museum. This will help keep artifacts from “walking.”

Step 9: Connect the Makey Makey

  1. Clip alligator clip to flap on “ground” copper tape
  2. Use alligator clips and jumper wires to connect the Makey Makey to the back of each museum room
  3. Use the back of the Makey Makey and jumper wires to have enough connection points for the inputs
  4. Connect the Makey Makey to the laptop or computer
  5. Check your Scratch program to make sure that the event block type matches the Makey Makey connection point (eg. space, up arrow, w, etc.)
  6. Open a museum door wide, press down the door’s brad against the copper tape on top of the room and test it out!

Educator Tip:

Show off your Makey Makey Tiny Museum at an open house or other event -- visitors will love it!

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