Have you already played a banana piano? Did you know you could draw your own instrument and play your drawings too? You'll learn how in this lesson!
Did you test pencil lead for conductivity in the last lesson? The graphite inside a pencil is conductive even though the wood surrounding a pencil is not. (Check out this cool invention Jay Silver made with a pencil before Makey Makey!)
Since pencil lead (also known as graphite) is conductive, that makes pencils and drawings a really cool material for inventing!
In this lesson, you will draw your own instrument and plug it up to our piano app to play it. However, there are many pianos you can use to plug and play with Makey Makey, or you can even design your own instrument app in Scratch!
Check out these amazing instruments from a "Sketch it! Play it!" event at Intel Labs.
Let's grab your conductivity experiment from the last lesson and make a drawing to test it! Follow along with this video:
|Test Piano Apps|
Now that you know about the conductivity of pencil lead, let's find some piano apps you can use with Makey Makey! You can use any app, webpage, or Scratch project that works with key presses.
Here are a few to try:
(Watch the last few minutes of this live webisode to see more about using the MK-1 synthesizer.)
Chamber Music Piano
This downloadable app is great if you just want to drag and drop sounds onto keys on a keyboard, then press the keys to play them. Try it with the example keymap we made with drum and marimba sounds for mac or windows.
This video will walk you through connecting Makey Makey to the different piano apps.
|Draw Your Circuit AKA Playable Instrument|
Get your 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper and use a graphite pencil (artist "6B" pencil works great to draw a design.) to draw your own playable instrument! What will you create? A robotic piano? A space ship trombone? Your name as a tone generator?
In case you need a prompt to get started:
Hook each section of your drawing to an alligator clip to match the sound you want to play.
Troubleshooting if your drawing isn't working
|Science Behind It|
We learned in the last lesson that a conductor is any item that allows electrons to flow through it with little effort. We also learned that if an item has any conductivity, Makey Makey will detect it. We also learned an insulator is any item that does not allow electrons to flow through it. Since we tested graphite and it is conductive, and we learned that paper is an insulator, we know now that if we make our drawings thick enough on regular paper, we can use drawings to control our computer keys!
In our next lesson, we will go a step further and learn how to code our key presses with Scratch, Makecode Arcade, Tynker, and Code.org. As an inventor, you'll want to create your own apps and computer programs, so we will show you how to do just that!
|Extensions for Teachers|
Drawing Sound Words Activity
Have students draw the onomatopoeia word for a sound of their choice. Ask students to record the sound in an online recorder. Collect all of the wav files of the sounds in a Google Form and use that data to upload all wav or mp3 files into one Scratch project. This is a fun way to create one project that has all the sounds from all the students whether they are virtual learners or in person learners.
Remixing Scratch Projects to Make Collaborative Sound Art
Teachers will probably need to make a Google Form for kids to add a link to their sound art project. After receiving a student's remix ink, the teacher will want to comment on that project for the next student to remix.
Colleen’s Scratch Project with instructions for remixing: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/447380198/