Get Making with the Makey Makey
Create your very own video game controller
What’s the plan?
In my first grade classroom this coming school year I want to implement the Maker Movement. Students will create a video game controller using the Makey Makey Kit and supplement their project with a “Makey Makey How-To Guide” to share and motivate other classes to join the Maker Movement!
what is the maker movement?
The Maker Movement is a technological and creative learning revolution that is making its way into schools all over the world. Essentially, the movement has taken the “DIY” (do-it-yourself) culture and added incredible technologies to it to promote deeper thinking among kids (even adults…like me!). New tools and technologies create affordable and even free invention programs/inventions. The best part about the Maker Movement is that people all over are collaborating and creating a community of creative problem solvers.
WHY implement the maker movement…in the classroom?
To some the Maker Movement sounds like “play time” — and it is. However, some fail to realize that play time can be a time to learn, be creative and explore something you are passionate about. The Maker Movement overlaps with the idea that children learn through doing. That is exactly what I strive to do in my classroom. The movement reminds me of this quote,
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. Confucius
If we as teachers embrace this movement in the classroom, we will shift to a student-centered environment–students will have more power and choices and take control of their own learning.
what makes me a maker?
My experiences throughout my Masters in Education Technology (MAET) program have truly turned me into a “Maker.” Before this program, I had only heard about the Maker Movement and the technologies that support it. I had coded a few times on the computer using Scratch and Hour of Code but I had never completed any hands on maker activities. In four short weeks, I believe I have become a maker. I have been given the time and resources to experiment and create projects with Little Bits, Makey Makey, Squishy Circuits, Paper Circuits, and the Scribbler3DPen. I have turned open ended assignments into projects I am proud of. I have a growth mindset and persevere when I am frustrated. I try hard. And when I fail, I learn.
TPACK and my maker lesson
The lesson plan I have created to support the Maker Movement was created with TPACK in mind. TPACK is, “a framework that identifies the knowledge teachers need to teach effectively with technology” (Koehler, 2009). The framework essentially makes sure you are blending your content, pedagogical and technological knowledge appropriately and effectively. So, how did TPACK help me create my lesson? I thought about the content first: what subject matter or standards would my lesson be implemented into? This is something to think about before implementing technology into any lesson. I decided to choose informational writing for the content as my first graders struggled with that writing the most last year. I think this lesson will be great for getting students motivated to write as well as getting them to be descriptive in their writing. Then, I thought about my pedagogical knowledge. I need to get to know my students well before implementing the Maker Movement. They need to trust me and learn that failure is accepted in my classroom (as long as they learn from that failure). I also thought about how I would manage the movement in my classroom. For any type of group work that requires a lot of hands on activity and experimentation, it is best to keep the groups small. I also want to assign team leaders, materials managers and time/noise keepers to keep the classroom under control. Finally, I thought about the technology I had available. I have access to laptops, iPads, a computer lab, and a laptop card at my school so I have lots of outlets for technology. Just recently, I found out that my school purchased Makey Makey Kits so it really brought the entire lesson together and made it possible to execute in the upcoming school year.
Click on the pictures below to view my Makey Makey Lesson Plan and/or How to use the Makey Makey.
As I reflect on my Maker lesson journey, I think about how much my mindset has changed. I felt hesitant, overwhelmed and not entirely confident about how I would successfully implement the Maker Movement in my first grade classroom. After trusting the Design Thinking Process and gathering and analyzing feedback from my peers, I feel confident and excited about my lesson plan. The Design Thinking Process helped me to step out of my comfort zone and break my normal lesson routine.
Normally, I begin creating a lesson with a specific step-by-step plan that I know will be relatively successful. The Design Thinking Process pushed me to have a novice mindset, to take chances, to be the learner and to experiment! The exact mindset I want my students to have throughout our Maker Movement (imagine that!). I feel like I became a “Maker” through this entire process and will create opportunities for my students to be Makers as well. I also tried something I have never thought to do before. After learning about the Universal Design for Learning, I thought about ways to accommodate my students or anyone else reading my Makey Makey How-To Guide. I wanted to include recordings of myself reading the steps–I thought about how this might benefit my students who struggle with reading or teachers in my school who would prefer to listen and act out to the How-To Guide rather than reading it. Unfortunately, after researching for quite some time, I could not figure it out! So instead, I found a Google Add-On called, “Read and Write for Google” that will read the directions out loud. I will just have to settle for the robotic voice! I also included multiple pictures, as learning how to use the Makey Makey can be confusing or overwhelming for some.
If you are an educator interested in implementing this lesson in your classroom, please read my Lesson Plan which includes “Teacher Tips!” If you are interested in the Maker Movement in general, check out this website to learn more. Overall, I would say be patient and have fun! The Maker Movement is all about letting your students take charge of their own learning in a non-traditional classroom setting. I would love to hear about your experiences with the Maker Movement as an educator and any suggestions you have to improve my maker lesson. Leave a comment below and give yourself a pat on the back for stepping out of your comfort zone! Happy Making!
Educate Gamedesk. (2015). AT & T. Retrieved from <http://educade.org/lesson_plans/use-makey-makey-to-design-a-videogame-controller>.
Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Learning and leading with technology. http://www.msuedtechsandbox.com/maety1-2014/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/EJ839143.pdf
Jay Silver & Eric Rosenbaum. (2015). Joylabs LLC. Retrieved from: <.http://www.makeymakey.com/>.
Jimb0. (2015). Spark Fun Electronics. Retrieved from: <https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/makey-makey-quickstart-guide>.
Rosenbaum, Eric & Silver, Jay. (2015). Joylabs LLC. Retrieved from: <.http://www.makeymakey.com/>.