Young Students Making Meaning with Makey Makeys

Young students Making Meaning using Makey Makeys

Playing the “playdough piano”    

Good speakers are key for using makey makeys in a loud class!

Rocking out to Billie Jean:  Getting the beat just right is highly entertaining and motivating.

Students figure out how things work by playing with them & developing theories.    

“It doesn’t work…”

 “Because we don’t have the bracelet!” (the ‘grounding’ wire)

Students jump on an aluminum foil ‘Dance Floor’ and Makey Makey to play Super Mario Bros and build perseverance and confidence.

“I did it without falling!”

Students then play with their older buddies and learn more about electricity and conductivity: by holding the alligator clips, we are conductive and can become the piano, too!


Exploring and learning about electricity, energy, sound, conductivity and circuits is fun with Makey Makeys! Learning from older buddies is helpful and motivating, and older buddies have the opportunity to explain their thinking.  Both groups are co-constructing their understanding.

Developing an understanding about how things work and how energy travels is accessible for ALL ages. They may not understand exactly how electricity works…but then again, do you?


My 3 year old twins exploring, testing theories and making sounds
Does a pencil work as well as my finger?
Let’s try it out and see.

2 thoughts on “Young Students Making Meaning with Makey Makeys

  1. Amber Dryer

    Thank you for sharing this great PBL unit for learning more about electricity and how it works. The children are very engaged and seem to want to try different things to find out if they are conductive. I love how some kids tried something out and realized it didn’t work (because of the bracelet). IT was great to see the older and younger students working together as well! I’m sure it was a great learning experience for both age groups!
    What computer program are you using to help create the music? This may be something I can pass to some of the older students who create the units about electricity. I am wondering if this is a tool I can adapt next year to discuss the forces of motion with pushing and pulling changing the way something works on the computer. It would provide a lot of time for experimenting!

    1. Holly Fraser Post author

      Hi Amber,

      I am using the (There are tons of simple apps created by people–mostly in the program ) But it’s all available to use on the Makey Makey homepage. I have had a lot of success with older and younger students working together on various projects–both get so much out of the experience–just not always the same things. 🙂

      I would definitely pass this on to older students–and even yours–when the kit is set up is it is fun and easy to use. I am not seeing the immediate application for forces/pushing and pulling with Makey Makey…but…I have been playing with these They are little modular robots you construct–and depending on how tall/wide you build them, the force of their movement forward or backward causes them to fall over…or not. Might be worth exploring.



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