Introduction: Makey Makey & Scratch Code/Art Storytelling

About: STEM and Library Science teacher in Eminence Kentucky at a K-12 School.

In this project, we are taking inspiration from literature to draw scenes or characters from a book and bring them to life through code. Hand-drawn art is connected to a Makey-Makey through conductive copper tape. Then, we use the Makey-Makey Scratch Extension to integrate our real world creation with the digital world of code. In this example, we will bring themes and characters from Dragons Love Tacos to life.

Supplies

  • A book for inspiration, or a creative idea! I choose by Adam Rubin for this example.
  • Access to - creating an account is preferable so that work can be saved.
  • & USB Cord
  • Computer
  • 4-7 (these are usually included in a Makey-Makey purchase
  • Scissors
  • Paper - I prefer card stock
  • Art supplies such as markers, crayons, or colored pencils

Step 1: Pick a Muse

  • First, come up with the idea behind your creation.
  • A book can be a great central idea, but students are often inspired to make maps, characters, or creative scenes for this project. Either way, choose an idea.
  • Draw and color the scene you plan to code.
  • Sometimes, looking at the sprites and backgrounds available in Scratch before committing is helpful.
  • Sometimes it is fun to replicating your own art digitally in Scratch.

Step 2: Make That Canvas Conductive

  • Cut short strips of copper tape. This will act as a conductor for the alligator clips.
  • Tape them intentionally to the art elements you want to be interactive within your code.
  • If doing this with students, this is a great opportunity for a mini lesson on conductive materials. Let them test if the paper alone is conductive. Why is the copper tape needed? How does it help the current flow?

Step 3: Wire the Makey Makey

  • First, connect the Makey Makey to your computer.
  • Then, wire alligator clips to each strip of copper tape on your canvas.
  • Remember to leave one alligator clip connected to Earth (ground). You will hold this one in your hand as you use the Makey Makey to close the circuits.

Step 4: Open Scratch

  • Open
  • Log in or create an account so that your work can be saved
  • Click Create to get to the Scratch Sandbox

Step 5: Enable the Makey Makey Extensions

In the bottom left hand corner of the Scratch sandbox is a + box that allows users to add extensions.

Click it and add the Makey Makey Extension.

Step 6: Code Your Scene

  • Use the Makey Makey Extension to code your scene.
  • This isn't a tutorial on using Scratch; there are lots of great tutorials embedded in Scratch to learn how to code within in it. So, here I've just shown you a simple code for a general idea about how a drawing, an electrical interface, and coding software can be incorporated to make something new.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Creation

Show off and share your magic!

Anything Goes Contest 2021

Participated in the
Anything Goes Contest 2021