Makey Makey Mental Math

In order to become an innovator, creative thinker and questioner, (and to get a good grade in my class, haha) I bought a Makey Makey creation package. The Makey Makey allows you to turn ordinary household objects into a keyboard / mouse pad for your computer!

When I first opened the Makey Makey package, I was instantly overwhelmed with thoughts about how “techy” and intricate it looked. With all The wires, things appearing for which I didn’t even have a name – I felt extremely out of my league as far as technology goes.


I will include photos and videos throughout this post in order to compliment and enhance what I am talking about. Sometimes, especially for visual learners like myself, people need to have some type of visual aid, paired with text or video in order to better “see” and understand the task at hand or topic / process being described. Because of this, I will be sure to include photos to help make what I’m describing very clear to you, as a reader and innovator. This project was  totally complex beyond my abilities, it was nothing I could accomplish alone… Or so I thought.

Since I was so bewildered, I went to the only place where I thought I could find some sense. Youtube! I began exploring these videos (link link link) to give me some ideas, I went to Makey Makey’s official website, and I just read the instructions that came in the box. After this, I felt comfortable exploring to find out which objects were “conductors” of energy, and which ones weren’t. (Only objects that conduct energy will complete the circuit and allow for a fully functioning Makey Makey experience)

First I went straight for what I know best. FOOD.

I grabbed some carrots and celery and plugged in the corresponding wires. Next I found a piano app to explore with. To my surprise, it didn’t work. I rewired the cords, and it still didn’t work. I later found out that it wasn’t working because I wasn’t completing the circuit. It’s not enough simply to plug in the wires, the energy from my body had to be utilized in order to make everything connected and completed.
To amend this issue, I touched the celery (which was attached to “earth”) while simultaneously playing piano on my carrot keys (attached to the arrow keys on the Makey Makey).IMG_1071 2

The next item I explored with was another thing I know well. COINS! I grabbed a penny, nickel, quarter and a dime. Sure enough, they conducted the energy and worked like a charm as I was playing Tetris! So much fun.

IMG_1070 2.JPG

Afterwards I attached some Sweedish Fish to my Makey Makey so that I could play a popular math game that my students love.

IMG_1072 2.JPGThis didn’t work well. The only time it functioned was when I touched the metal part of the alligator clip that was attached to the Swedish Fish, but not the actual fish.IMG_1074.JPG

My scholars love to play MathMan to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, all depending on their data.


I already know how awesome Makey Makey is with just repurposing houshold materials, but I also know that my scholars learn even better with bodily movement. Because of this, I wanted to find a way to incorporate mental math and movement through Makey Makey. Finally, I decided to break out the tin foil and cardboard. I cut out 4 cardboard rectangles and wrapped them in tin foil. I labeled them “LEFT” “RIGHT” “UP” “DOWN” in order to correspond to the game controls. I plugged in the Makey Makey wires to my math pad, and let the fun begin!

Even though this is only a prototype of an activity that I might actually  do, I have learned so much and feel like a true innovator because of this process. I want my students to feel the same way!  It would be amazing to have a class set, or maybe even 10 Makey Makey units to use in class since they spark such innovative and creative thoughts and questions!

Check out the video below to see step-by-step how I created my makey makey prototype.


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