How Electricity Travels

Lesson 1: Understanding How Electricity Travels

Electricity is created when electrons, a part of an atom, flow in a path. The path has to be closed, or complete, for the electricity to flow. If the path is broken, then electricity will not flow.

Whole Class Activity: Demonstrate a Circuit

Electricity is able to pass through some objects easily but has a difficult time passing through other objects. An object that allows electricity to pass through it easily is called a conductor. An object that does not allow electricity to pass through it easily is called an insulator. When you create your invention, you will need to keep in mind that only conductors will work with the Makey Makey.

Let’s test some objects to determine whether or not they are conductors or insulators so we know what materials are ok to use with our projects.

Whole Class Activity: Insulator and Conductor Test

Now that you have had a chance to learn a little bit about insulators and conductors, try to build some circuits on your own! Visit the site below and try to complete the circuits in level 1, level 2, and level 3.

Student Activity: Circuit Building

Lesson 2: Learning about Makey Makey

In this lesson, we will look at the Makey Makey and talk about h0w we can use it to invent new ways of interacting with computers. The Makey Makey works by sending signals to the computer using objects other than your keyboard or mouse. Let’s take a look at the Makey Makey board to understand the different parts of the board.

Quick Start Guide


Lesson 3: Inventing with Makey Makey

Usually, inventors are normal people like you and me but they have a powerful drive to work hard at something they love. Inventors have a passion for learning, creating and experimenting with new ideas. They understand that hard work is the key to success. Being a successful inventor is not about being smart, it is about perseverance and hard work.

I want you to silently think about a time when you showed hard work and perseverance in your life. Turn and talk. Volunteers can share with the class.

edisonSomething else people don’t always realize is that inventors usually don’t work alone. Inventors rely on the people around them to support their ideas and help them improve their designs. Sometimes we think of inventors as a one-person show, but that isn’t how most people are effective. For example, Thomas Edison had a team of over 30 people working with him when he was working on the light bulb! It is important to be able to work collaboratively to come up with your best work.

Thomas Edison Video

Today, you will be working with your group to start designing your final Makey Makey project. Follow the steps below to complete your work.

  1. Look at the Table of Games and Instruments at the bottom of the page. Your group should pick one game or music site that you want to control with your Makey Makey.
  2. Use your graphic organizer to design your project. Pick a recorder to draw the group’s ideas. Draw a picture of the items you want to connect to your Makey Makey. It is ok to change your mind as you think. Remember that you can draw pictures on papers and use different objects with paper to make new inventions.
  3. Share your ideas with your group, then come up with a final plan. Decide what items you will need to bring your project to life.

Game and Instruments Table

      Game/Instrument         Description
Tetris  You can play this Tetris game with the arrow keys… or make your own custom controller.
Sound Effects This page turns your keyboard into a sound effects machine. By connecting to the letters on the back of your MaKey MaKey, you can create your own way to trigger sounds.
 Flash Flash Revolution Make your own pads so you can play this dancing game with your feet instead of the arrow keys… or invent a totally new way to play.
 Pac Man  The original game that many people love. Go eat those monsters!
Drum Machine Play drums with arrow keys and space, or use a MaKey MaKey kit to make drums out of anything!
 Makey Makey Piano  What masterpiece will you create?


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