Thursday, July 14, 2016

MakeyMakeying with the BubblerBubbler

The Bubbler is on the MakeyMakey bandwagon! We've seen these little innovative machines at maker faires and in maker kits from some of our library partners and are sold on the open ended challenges they provide for kiddos. After working to design an interactive instructional website for using MakeyMakeys with students from the School of Library and Information Studies at UW this spring semester, we were excited to roll out MakeyMakey programs at our libraries with Maker Corps this summer!

UW volunteer Danny and friends discover the magic of graphite pencils to draw their own piano at Meadowridge library.

Being fitted with a conductive bracelet. 

These simple circuit boards, attached to a computer, allow us to design our very own keyboard or game controllers. They also help the kiddos learn more about different materials that conduct electricity, such as play dough, graphite pencils, and aluminum foil. With our traveling maker kits, we have stayed away from the more traditional MakeyMakey materials like bananas.... somehow I don't think our delivery drivers want all the fruit flies hanging out with our library books.

We have seen the most excitement coming from the use of graphite pencils. (Normal #2 pencils won't work, something about what is added to the graphite to keep it from smearing we think?) But any HB or artist pencil conducts electricity when connected to our circuit with an alligator clip. The novelty of drawing your own controller is definitely a hit. The simplicity of it that has super fun results is giving us a lot of smiles.

Fist bumping Pacman controller anyone? 
With a little patience, perseverance and creativity, kids created game controllers and piano keys like no other. Some of our best moments happen when they realize if THEY are conductive to ground their MakeyMakey circuits, OTHER PEOPLE are also conductive. So much fun with high fives that control cheering (or you know, farting) sounds.

The creators of MakeyMakeys have given us a tool that invites trial and error, innovative thinking, and quick alterations or reiterations and we're thrilled. And so are our makers, often staying for over and hour to get their contraptions working just right.

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