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Add an analytical or experiential element to visual art with this inventive, easy-to-use circuit board kit.

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Created by
Agustin Molfino
Curriculum Writer

MAKEY MAKEY overview

MaKey MaKey is a circuit board kit that can be used to connect objects with a computer, transforming those objects into computer keys or mouse clicks. With MaKey MaKey, students can playfully invent new devices, instruments, and controllers, or remix familiar objects - as long as they are adequately conductive. For example, bananas can become pianos, or Play-Doh can be shaped into Nintendo controllers. With these inventions, students learn about the fundamentals of circuits and gain insight into how their computers work.

MaKey MaKey allows for the easy creation of basic circuits and gets students familiar with the basic components of a circuit (power source, wires, input and output) and how circuits interact with computers. Since MaKey MaKey also hooks up to computers, the possibilities are limitless for students interested in getting more experimental. Students can find new programs to control and new objects to use as controls, as well as design new software that can interact with the kit. In this way, MaKey MaKey acts as both an introduction to circuits and a tool for invention. This extends the learning goals of MaKey MaKey to computer programming, engineering and design, and art.

The MaKey MaKey website provides suggested software to use with MaKey MaKey.

Kit includes:
  • MaKey MaKey circuit board
  • Red USB Cable
  • 7 Alligator Clips
  • 6 Connector Wires
  • Quick start guide


  1. Plug in USB: Small side of USB cable plugs into MaKey MaKey, big side plugs into computer.
  2. Close Popup Window: Your computer may ask you to install drivers or do other setup. You can click cancel or close the window.
  3. Connect to Earth: Connect one end of an alligator clip to "Earth" on the bottom of the front side of MaKey MaKey.
  4. Connect to yourself: Hold the metal part of the other end of the alligator clip between your fingers. You are now "grounded."
  5. Connect to anything: Make anything into a key! Connections can be made through anything even slightly conductive.
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Experience breakdown

Makey Makey: Invention Kit

Lesson plan Overview

Although MaKey MaKey is a tool that readily aligns with learning objectives for engineering and circuitry, it is by no means limited to to these topics. At its core, MaKey MaKey is a tool that allows for interaction between people and objects in novel ways. In this instance, we used it to create interactive art. Students took, or made themselves, a painting or picture and with MaKey MaKey created "hotspots" on certain areas of the piece, so that when someone would touch that area, audio would be triggered that could serve a whole host of functions (historical info, critical analysis, music). This proved to be an effective way for students to demonstrate understanding, and by having their classmates interact with their art it provided  an engaging learning experience for those students as well. 

Learning Objectives

 Create a piece of art in the style of a traditional genre (e.g. Expressionism, abstract, Impressionism, etc.).

 Explain, using proper vocabulary, the essential features of a traditional art genre.

 Demonstrate knowledge of how art, through color and symbolism, elicits emotion.

Lesson PLan

 Since paint and pencil conduct enough electricity to work with MaKey MaKey, assign students the task of creating an interactive painting or drawing with touch-based “hot spots” that play sounds or critical commentary. “Hot spots” can reflect the mood of the painting through sound or song, or it can explain sections of the artwork in terms of art theory, history, or techniques.

Suggestion: use KEYBOARD SAMPLE TRIGGER to map sounds to keyboard controls and MaKey MaKey.

  1. Students make or print out of a piece of art.
  2. Teacher demonstrates how to connect MaKey MaKey to the piece of art and runs through an example of appropriate audio commentary.
  3. If necessary, students research art history and/or art technique.
  4. Students record audio commentary and, with a Keyboard Sample Trigger, assign audio to certain key presses. 
  5. Students connect their art to MaKey MaKey and allow other students to experience their interactive art projects. 


Common Core - English Language Arts

Speaking and Listening
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
History and Social Studies
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

ISTE NETS - Digital Age Skills

1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes 
Create original works as a means of personal or group expression
Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
Identify trends and forecast possibilities 
2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media
Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures
Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems
6.  Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
Understand and use technology systems
Select and use applications effectively and productively
Troubleshoot systems and applications
Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies
topic discussion
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