Makey Makey Gamers

Last week I had one of those lessons again. The ones where you get the kids going, take a step back and watch as massive learning begins.

I had set the kids a bit of a challenge. I gave them a Makey Makey pack, and dropped some of my cardboard stash at the front of the room, along with a few other crafty bits. The challenge I set was for them to design and create a new Xbox style remote. Obviously they were hooked instantly!

Having a full Xbox remote was going to be tricky, so we narrowed it down to 5 inputs. Up, down, left right and jump. To give them something to aim at I told them it had to work with the game Run 2. For some reason they seem to be obsessed with that game at the moment (really don’t get it)! We had a great discussion about what they needed to consider. We talked about the shape of the remote in their hands, how many buttons they would need and where to place them, and what materials we would be using.

After talking through my expectations and what they had to use I took a big step back. Floated around the room and tried my best not to get involved with the pupils. The discussions going on round the room were brilliant. Children talking about what wires they’ll need, where the connections should be, and trying to work out why things weren’t working.

It was the mistakes that gave me the best bits of conversation for assessment. Pupils using logical reasoning to work out their mistakes and look for a fix. Is it a problem with their controller, or was it something wrong when they connected the Makey board? You can see from the pictures above how engrossed the pupils were, and I struggled to tear them away from the kits at the end of the lesson.

I really would recommend these boards to any primary school. The creativity, independent learning and computational thinking they generate more than repays the cost of the kit! Next week I think I might see if I can trust them to use the copper tape….


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