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Digitech/Science Lesson 8 Introduction to MakeyMakey



I understand how a Makey Makey links with a computer to make a circuit


What is a circuit?

What are conductors?


New Information:

So…..what is a MakeyMakey?

In groups of 3 unbox MAKEY MAKEYs- draw diagram and identify what you see.  Audit what is in them- ensure all can be packed up neatly

Compare their diagrams to these (discuss labels):

The MAKEY MAKEY basically creates a circuit that connects to your computer. When the circuit is complete it replaces keystrokes or mouse clicks- so it creates INPUTS. It can also be wired to create OUTPUTS


The MaKey MaKey is a two-sided circuit board. On the more simple, top side, the MaKey MaKey has 6-inputs: the up/down/left/right arrow keys, as well as the space bar and mouse left click.

Each of those inputs as well as the very important “Earth bar” are available in the form of what I like to call “alligator-bait” connectors. You’ll use the included alligator clip cables to clip right into the hole pairs. This will all be made much more clear in the next section. For now, let’s keep summarizing your MaKey MaKey.

When you flip the board over, you’ve got access to 12 more keys: W, A, S, D, F, and G on the keyboard side, and up/down/left/right mouse movement and left/right clicks on the mouse side. The bottom header has six ground (aka Earth) outputs, while the top header is an expansion/output header. There are also a few LEDs on the back to indicate whether you’re pressing a mouse or keyboard key.

Making Your First Key

The most simple MaKey MaKey key you can make is one that only uses your fingers. Try touching the Earth bar while simultaneously touching the space circle pad. The LED above the SPACE key should light up, and a space command should be sent to your computer.

Now try leaving one finger on the Earth bar while quickly tapping the space button. Getting a feel for it? It should work just like your standard space key!

MaKey Key-Making Materials

To make your “standard” key with the MaKey MaKey you need the following:

  • A connection to a MaKey MaKey input. This can be done using alligator clips on the top side, or jumper wires on the bottom.
  • Connection to a MaKey MaKey ground (Earth). Again, you’ll connect to earth using either alligator clips or jumper wires.
  • Some sort of key material. This is the fun/creative part! There’s a world of MaKey MaKey keys out there. Anything that’s even slightly conductive is just waiting to become a computer input. The classics, of course, are your fingers, bananas, and pencil scratchings.
  • Something to activate the key, by connecting between the key material and the ground input. Your fingers work pretty well for this. Anything even slightly conductive will do though.

Making a Key

Activating a key means creating a closed circuit. For the circuit to work, electrons have to be able to flow from the MaKey MaKey input key to MaKey MaKey’s ground. Usually your fingers will be the missing link between those two:

Let’s try making a bona fide MaKey MaKey key. First, you’ll need to find some sort of key object. Dig around your house, check your fruit basket, your coin purse, or grab a pencil and make a drawing.

Pick out your favorite-colored alligator clip cable, open one of the jaws, and snap it down onto your key. And clip the other end of the clip into one of the MaKey MaKey top-side inputs. SPACE is great for testing purposes:

Now, grab a second cable for the ground connection. Black is the classic “ground color”, but set your own trend and pick whatever you want. Clip one end of one cable into the Earth bar, and let the other end dangle for now.

Open up some sort of text editor (Notepad, Word, TextEdit, etc.) on your computer. Remember that, just as with your boring ol’ keyboard, your computer will interpret keypresses differently depending on what program is active.

Finally! Grab the dangling end of the ground cable with one hand. Make sure you’re touching the metal part of the clip. Then use your other hand to touch the banana, or whatever your key might be. BAM! Space!


MAKEY MAKEY combines with coding- so when you input say a space bar click, it will do whatever the code has told it to- this is how you get it to become a musical instrument.

Have a look at




Your challenges-

Challenge 1:

Simple Circuit: Can you figure out where to plug in the LED on the Makey Makey and complete a circuit by touching playdoh?

(Remember that LEDs have a short leg to indicate the negative side. You need to create a loop for the current to flow!)


Challenge 2:

Can you use people to complete the circuit? Can you add people and the LED still light up? How many people can be in your chain and still complete the circuit?


Challenge 3:

What are insulators and conductors? Use items provided to find out what materials work well as conductors and insulators- create a table with your findings.


Challenge 4:

Create a Makey Makey keyboard using the scratch program:

What objects will be your keys?


Challenge 5:

Building a Switch: What other materials can you use to build your own switch? What materials work? What won’t work? Why?

Explore the possibilities on these videos:



ENSURE ALL IS PACKED UP NEATLY-teacher ensure all boxes have everything they are meant to


Goal Reflection:

Draw a circuit diagram of something you made today-label what the parts are.

What excited you? What are you hoping to find out or explore? What questions do you have?

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