Makey Makey Interactive Poster
45 min – 1 hour
4th – 12th grades
What Will You Learn?
This activity allows you to combine Makey Makey and Scratch to create an interactive poster. While designing your own interactive poster, you will investigate how circuits work. Plus, you’ll begin to think about user interface design and how it is important when designing physical computing projects.
Research Poster Topic
Create a poster about the topic you want to share! You can make an interactive body systems poster, interactive display about an animal, display the life cycle of plants, share great poetry, and more! The possibilities are endless!
Once you’ve researched a topic, design a poster with images and text to display what you’ve learned.
Record Audio in Audacity or Scratch
You can record your audio directly in Scratch, or record in Audacity and upload to Scratch.
If you are recording poetry, make sure your voice matches the mood and tone of the poem you are sharing. Practice what you will record multiple times before recording.
Record sounds and export as an mp3 or wav file.
In Scratch, pick a sprite, and open the sounds tab. (Your sprite can be an image you uploaded or a sprite from the Scratch sprite libraries.)
In the sounds tab, you can upload your own mp3 or wav file, load a surprise sound, or record a sound by clicking the microphone button. If you recorded a sound in Audacity, then upload your mp3 here in the sounds tab. Or follow directions below to record your sound in Scratch.
Once you click the microphone to record or upload a sound, you can edit your sound and add effects. Make sure to name your sound so you will be able to code key presses easily.
Code Sound Bites in Scratch
Now that you have sounds in Scratch, you can easily code the sound to play on a key press. Make sure to assign each sound to a different key press so you can trigger sounds with different Makey Makey inputs.
To trigger sounds with a key press, you can use the “when key pressed” hat from the yellow “events” palette.
Or you can add the Makey Makey Extension and use the “When Makey Makey Key pressed” hat.
Coding Multiple Sounds on Multiple Sprites
In our Black History Month Scratch Project, we coded each sprite to play the reading of a poem. Since the poems are long, we added the code “stop all sounds” under the triggering event so that the sounds will not play on top of one another.
Create Conductive Touch Points and Finish Poster Design
Use conductive materials to create conductive touchpoints on your poster. When designing a user interface, think about the age of people who will be using your poster to learn about your topic. User interface design is an important stage in inventing!
- Is it obvious where to hold hold EARTH on your poster?
- Can users tell how to play sound effects when they walk up to your poster?
First decide what materials you want to use to make conductive touch points on your poster. You can use pencil lead (we prefer 6B pencils which have heavier graphite than your average pencil), metal paperclips, tin foil, etc. (Want to know what items are conductive? Check out this project to learn more.)
Option - Thumbtacks
You can use metal thumbtacks for conductive touch points. Press into cardboard and connect alligator clips on the back of the poster.
Option - Pencil Drawing
Pencil drawings work great as conductive touchpoints, but the graphite might come off on your fingers and you may have to redraw your circuits over time. Make sure lines are dark and thick and that the alligator clip is connected directly to the pencil drawing.
Option - Brass Fasteners
This is one of our favorite supplies for creating conductive
touchpoints! Press the fastener through your poster and fold the legs of
the fastener on the back so you can clip your alligator clip directly
to the fastener on the back of the poster.
Option - Mixed Items
You can always mix items, but make sure that your user knows how to play sounds on your poster!
We added styrofoam on the back of our poster to stabilize it since the alligator clips add bulk. Think about how you want to frame your poster so users can press conductive touch points and your poster maintains stability.