Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Makey Makey Projects for the Industrial Revolution Unit

This is the second year we have used MakeyMakey kits in my 8th grade American history classroom as a project when studying the industrial revolution.  In the past after discussing innovation and inventions (like Morse Code, John Deere's plow, etc.) I had students come up with their own invention.  They would fill out a simplified patent application and it was an OK assignment but more often than not it was a very unrealistic invention - basketball shoes that allowed you to dunk, a machine that created an entire four course meal with the push of one button.  

Last year I handed out MakeyMakey kits to groups of students, showed them how it worked and then let them play with it for a day to create their own "invention".  The students then share their invention with the rest of the class in a "Shark Tank" style.  The students loved it.  Some students said it was one of their favorite activities of the year.  

We are doing the project again this year and today was their day to work in groups and try to invent with their MakeyMakey.  Since students are just given one period - about 45 minutes - to create something with the MakeyMakey they typically create game controllers in a variety of formats - pencil lead cardboard, water in Dixie cups, gummy bears, fruits, etc.  They had a blast and tomorrow they will share their creation with the rest of the class.

MakeyMakey kits are one of my favorite ways to introduce the maker movement to my students.  Later in the semester my 8th grade emerging technology class will work with the MakeyMakey kits for a little longer and create something a little more complex.  


  1. Hi Mr. Langhorst

    My name is Ramsey Willis and I am a student at the University of South Alabama and I am in an educational media class called EDM 510. I posted a comment on a different posting of yours a couple of years ago when I was in EDM 310.

    This post is quite interesting and it looks like your 8th graders had a lot of fun. Because of your post I researched the Makey Makey product and I may just get one or two. That is just ingenious! I showed my son what it does and he, being a 12 year old, looked interested in it as well.

    This is a great project to do when discussing or introducing the industrial revolution. The kids will learn what it was like to be an inventor, although slightly different than during that time. Nevertheless, it is an amazing project and I hope they continue to have fun and learn!

    I will be posting a summary of this comment and others I have left for other teachers in about a week on my blog. Please come by and visit.

  2. Anonymous7:54 PM

    Mr. Langhorst,

    The Makey Makey kits look a lot of fun. I am a pre service teacher at Illinois State University. Do you use lots of hand on activities in your classes? I am sure the students appreciate differentiation from standard lectures.

    Brandon Diericks