This week the girls finished their Makey Makey musical instruments. They did a great job, all of the instruments were well made from upcycled materials and I only had to make a few minor changes to ensure the Makey Makey alligator clips could attach correctly. The creativity and teamwork of the girls across years K-2 has been outstanding. They worked so well together to create their instrument and took enormous pride in what they were doing.
Here are some of their amazing creations:
Prep School 5
Butterfly Key Piano
As well as creating some imaginative looking instruments the girls also requested some interesting sounds to be played on the instruments. Sounds used include piano, cello, saxophone, guitar, but also wacky sounds such as dog bark, laughing, pig snort, pirate sound, fairy dust, whoops and whirls. I like the fact that these unusual instruments play unusual sounds, it adds to the creativity and the idea that students could create whatever they wanted, so the designs, creations and sounds were all their own work.
We showed the instruments to parents at a recent open day at school and the reaction was very positive. Parents also loved the creativity and how unique this project is. They said “We didn’t have this when we were at school.” They liked the fact that students worked in groups and were able to develop these skills as well as communication skills. Parents also welcomed students making things with their own hands, rather than just staring at a screen or leafing through a book.
This project has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of and I would definitely run it again with K-2 students. For me, this project is about young students being encouraged to be creative, artistic, solve problems, teamwork, communication, practical and confident with technology. It is about them making something real, starting with just some basic materials and turning them into something magical.
The making (implementation) part of the project is where the creations come to life. This involved the girls bringing to school the materials needed to make their instrument and using things like glue, foil, sticky tape and other imaginative and creative tools. This stage required teams to work closely, ensure everyone was involved, and to have a steady hand when cutting, gluing and drawing.
Our K-2 maker space was a hive of activity during the making process. The girls loved making their instruments, it involved talking, being social, creative, active, problem-solving, thinking and being artistic. It was amazing to see these creations come to life and the innovative ways the girls found to realise their designs that were just in their imagination a few weeks ago. This stage was not without its problems, and making something from a design is not a fluid process by any means. Trying to make an object stand on 4 legs for example is not as easy as it sounds. I loved the way the girls persevered with their instruments, they did not give up when something did not work, they just tried something else. They did not ask for much help from the teachers, they wanted to make the instrument by themselves and they were pretty determined to do exactly this.
To improve this stage for next time, have a central station for ‘maker’ supplies, like glue, tape, foil, pens, pencils, glitter, paint, etc. This would be great on a moveable trolley so it can be placed in different rooms so all the children know where to go to get their supplies from.
Once the instruments are finished it will be time to attach the Makey Makey computers and attach them to the computer where they will start to come to life!
Our little makers now tackled the Design stage of the project. The main goal of the design stage is to put your ideas down on paper to create a rough drawing of what you are going to make. Girls had to work closely in their groups to decide on their main idea would be. They also had to decide what materials they would need and the role each would play in creating the instrument.
These design sessions were full of energy, discussion, chat, ideas, drawing, thinking and teamwork. The girls were busy bees and came up with some fantastic ideas, some of which you can see below. The girls were encouraged to be creative and have fun with their designs, and I think they achieved this rationale!
The Prep School 5
Now it is time to start making!