K-2 Makey Makey Project (Part I)

The idea for the K-2 Makey Makey project is for students to engage in the Maker movement. Students will be designing and creating their own musical instruments from upcycled materials, such as cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, tin foil and more. Instruments will include conductible materials so they can be connected to the Makey Makey computer and attached to the computer. Software will then be used to make the instruments come to life and play music.

The Makey Makey computer is the perfect choice of technology for this project because it is small, durable and easy-to-use. Students had already used it and loved the way they could interact with it and the computer and to see all of the amazing things they could connect it to, such as bananas and Play-Doh.

The design process

The design process is crucial in pulling off this maker project. The main stages of the process are:

  1. Problem definition
  2. Analysis
  3. Design
  4. Development and testing
  5. Evaluation

Problem definition

The problem students are faced with is they have to create a musical instrument from upcycled materials that can be attached to a computer to play real music.

The idea that I had to help demonstrate what the outcome will look like is this cardboard guitar with strings made from tin foil that are attached to the Makey Makey. A Scratch program is then used as the software interface and to generate the sounds that the instrument plays.

Makey Makey Guitar
Makey Makey Guitar

The instrument is a basic design and only needs to materials: cardboard and tin foil. When attached to the Makey Makey computer and then to the Scratch program it magically comes to life!


For the analysis stage students were encouraged to think of ideas for their instruments and the types of things they could do. They were encouraged to be creative and have fun with this idea. Students were put into groups consisting of a mixture of K-2 students. Types of materials they could use were discussed and students were asked to think of suitable materials that could be used for their design.

The stage was set for the design part of the process…


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