The Makey Makey May Term class focused around the ideas of invention, creativity and imagination. Students were given a Makey Makey (a simple pre-programed circuit board that lets users control a computer by using alligator clips and anything that is conductive). Students were taught the elements of basic design, and circuitry. After field trips to RIT’s MAGIC Center and The Kate Gleeson College of Engineering, students were asked to put their creative skills to the test. For their final projects, students had to use the Makey Makey to create a project that was original. One project that really stuck out was “The Gelatin Keyboard”. The two eighth graders responsible for that creation wrote about their experiences with the Makey Makey.
How did you decide to create a keyboard made of Jello/Gelatin?
Francesca wanted to make a keyboard and I wanted to incorporate Jello/Gelatin into our project. Therefore, we came up with a Gelatin keyboard. -Alison
We wanted to make something fun but it seemed like everyone was making game controllers. We decided to make the thing itself fun to use or play with instead of what it is doing. I guess you could say that games are more fun than typing, but I think the keyboard was really fun to use. -Francesca
Why did you change from store bought Jello to Gelatin?
We were telling Mrs. Oliveri (our art teacher) that our jello was not firming up so well and that we were worried that our project was going to fail. She gave us a recipe to a strong gelatin modeling material that was made of glycerin, gelatin, water, and rubbing alcohol. -Alison
The Jello was taking too long and once it was done, it wasn’t strong enough. The gelatin took a lot less time to make (if you did it right) but it was also at least 10 times stronger. If you wanted to mold it to a certain shape, all you had to do was put it in the microwave and then let it sit for a while to harden so that part was fairly easy as well. -Francesca
How was your project made better by collaboration?
An idea would get better with each other’s positive and negative opinions. That idea would form into something great that we were both happy with. -Alison
Each person is creative in their own way and the more different creative ideas you can have the better. Sometimes you don’t agree on how to do something, but you try both and one definitely works better, but if you just had your own idea it might not have worked. I don’t think our project would’ve been able to work if there weren’t two of us, collaboration is key. -Francesca
What would have changed about your final project?
I would have hidden some of the wires better to make it look better. -Alison
I don’t think I would change anything about our final project, maybe a few things in the process, but I really like how it turned out. -Francesca
Did it work out the way you hoped it would?
It worked out even better than I had hoped. I did not expect it to work so well. -Alison
It did, indeed every key ended up working so that was really good. I do think that it turned out better than what we were thinking of. Halfway throughout the process I was thinking whether or not we would have a final project, but we figured out the problems and it worked very well. -Francesca
What advice would you have for someone who was going to work with a Makey Makey for the first time?
You can make anything you want with Makey Makey you just need patience and a lot of wires. -Alison
Try everything. If you think of something, try it because that’s the point. There are no limits, maybe it won’t work the first time, but keep going. Also, be patient things may not happen the way you want them to and that can be good or bad but learn from your mistakes. -Francesca
For more about the Makey Makey May Term class, check out my previous post, Makey Makey and May Term.