Nathan Sekinger, Librarian, T Benton Gayle Middle SchoolTrack 3 Teacher Play
Using a Makey Makey Invention Kit and Scratch Coding, students can use their natural interest in video games to make their own and learn while playing. We start by designing a video game controller using a Makey Makey, paper and pencil. This allows students to consider design and function of their controllers. Students will also learn the basics of electrical conductivity.
Once students have a working controller, we take their skills to the next level by designing a video game using Scratch, a block-based coding platform. This coding portion is customizable to the skill and age range of the intended audience, from primary to higher education and can be personalized.
All game design can include the functions of their working controller. The coding portion will be used to teach students mathematical functions and computer coding concepts such as variables, sequencing, iteration and loops.
I teach this project in a middle school library makerspace to utilize students' interest in gaming and introduce them to topics in science, art and computer science. Students need access to a Makey Makey, computer, a clipboard, paper and pencil. Attendees should consider having these resources available as well.
This introductory project is a great way for attendees to see the potential of learning tools such as the Makey Makey Invention kit and Scratch programming. Each are open-ended platforms at low or no cost that have unlimited potential for learners from primary to higher education. Attendees will learn how to introduce the Makey Makey to students to capture their interest in technology and self-expression. They will also see how Scratch can be used to allow students new opportunities in the classroom to express their interests and demonstrate their learning in any content area. Scratch is a perfect tool for project-based learning, especially in a hybrid or remote environment and adding the Makey Makey can combine the best of physical and digital projects for students. Attendees will be guided through an introduction to each of these tech tools and given takeaway resources for how they might implement these platforms in their instruction.