Top 5 MaKey MaKey projects

This week we’re highlighting a number of our favourite tools for maker-educators. We regularly receive questions from libraries and schools asking what tools they should buy and how best to use them. In this series of posts, we’ll be shining a spotlight on some of our favourite tools and looking at five great examples of how to use them.

MAKEY MAKEY

The MaKey MaKey is a classic component of a maker education kit for good reason – it allows learners to quickly and easily turn anything that conducts electricity into an input for a computer. We’ve seen amazing projects created using the MaKey MaKey and hear are five great examples.

1. MaKey MaKey + Ukele

2. MaKey MaKey as assistive technology

3. Piano gloves

4. The Star Spangled Banner lunch

5. Circle piano

If you’re interested in exploring cool MaKey MaKey projects, we really recommend you checking out the “projects” section of their website.

If you want to play a piano with more notes than the standard MaKey MaKey piano, check out our 8-note Scratch piano.

Have you used the MaKey MaKey in educational settings? We’d love to hear about your experiences.

-The MakerBus

Ideas for teaching and learning to code

At the MakerBus we’re often asked by parents and educators for advice on how to teach and learn coding. As more and more of our society moves towards online and digital forms of communication, having a basic understanding of coding and programming becomes an important part of digital literacy.

Many educators believe that developing a basic understanding of coding is important to developing “computational thinking.” A recent Mother Jones article compares computational thinking to cooking,

“Much like cooking, computational thinking begins with a feat of imagination, the ability to envision how digitized information—ticket sales, customer addresses, the temperature in your fridge, the sequence of events to start a car engine, anything that can be sorted, counted, or tracked—could be combined and changed into something new by applying various computational techniques. From there, it’s all about “decomposing” big tasks into a logical series of smaller steps, just like a recipe.”

In other words, computational thinking allows people to organize, plan, and create – a skill that is extremely important in our data-rich society. With the internet providing nearly limitless access to information, computational thinking allow us to determine which information is valuable to the task at hand and how best to take action based upon this information.

If you’re interested in exploring the hows and whys of learning to code, we’ve compiled a short list of fantastic articles to get you started. Check out the list below for inspiration and let us know if you have any favourite sources.

Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started) – An article written by CBC Parents containing a fairly comprehensive list of resources for parents and educators interested in starting to learn to code.

8 Tips for Teaching Kids to Code – Advice from the experts at Intel for why it’s important to teach kids to code.

Code.org – Free tutorials for all ages and skill levels for learning to code.

Why Learning to Code is Important – A cute infographic containing a list of reasons why learning to code is important.

Learning Scratch with the MakerBus – Our blog series exploring the free programming language of Scratch. While the series has been on hiatus over the summer, we’re looking forward to resuming it soon.

What are your favourite coding resources? Share your thoughts in the comments and we’ll pass your suggestions along on our Facebook page.

-The MakerBus Team

Our favourite giant bubble recipe

We had an amazing time at the Detroit Maker Faire this weekend. One of our activities was showing people how to blow giant bubbles. Now when we say giant, we mean giant. Using this recipe you can easily blow bubbles that are 10-20 feet long.

Full credit goes to the Youtuber NightHawkinLight for creating this amazing recipe. Watch his Youtube video for a full walk-through for how to create it.

His basic recipe is:

24 oz Dishwashing Liquid
1 tbsp J-Lube (a harmless powder used in veterinary medicine)
3 US gal Water

Finding J-lube powder can be a little tricky in Canada. Amazon Canada sells it for nearly $80, but Amazon US sells it for $22.45 and will deliver it to Canada. A little of the powder goes a long way since you only use 1-2 tbsp per bubble batch.

We also recommend buying bamboo poles at a dollar store to construct your bubble blowing apparatus.

We’re looking forward to showing more Londoners this awesome bubble recipe, because let’s be honest, everyone loves blowing bubbles.

-The MakerBus Team