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Electrical switch (conductivity)

Use the Makey Makey (as a conductive switch) to play music using a range of items.

Four groups will each be allocated one of four Makey Makey devices that have been connected to desktop PC's (your teacher will direct you to your PC/Make Makey).

Your Makey Makey will already be connected to the computer allocated to you by your teacher. Do not try to connect or disconnect any device without first obtaining approval from your teacher. If you think something is wrong, then speak up.

Before Using the MakeMakey:

IMPORTANT: You MUST record your results and observations on your work sheet as you go!

  1. Login to the PC using your school network username and password (or as directed by your teacher). FIXME
  2. Click on the SCIDFX-Makey program icon on the PC desktop (or open your browser and go to the site/location indicated by your teacher).
  3. You should see information appear on your screen and hear music playing.
  4. When the program has loaded, press one of the arrow keys, or the space bar on your keyboard - you should hear a musical sound when you press these keys.
  5. If you do not hear a sound:
    1. press CTL-s on the keyboard and try pressing the space bar or arrow keys again (the arrow keys are the Up, Down, Left and Right arrows on your PC keyboard)
      1. If you cannot hear any sounds, make sure that volume is turned up - try playing a video or sound file.
      2. If you still cannot hear sound, try clicking the 'SCIDFX-Makey' icon again (click on 'Yes' if warned about an older instance of the script).

If all else fails, report problem to your teacher…. otherwise, continue…

Makey Makey - Getting Started:

IMPORTANT: You MUST record your results and observations on your work sheet as you go!

  1. Check that a MakeyMakey USB (red USB cable) is plugged in to your PC and that you have followed the instructions given by your teacher.
  2. If a Makey Makey is not connected to your PC, ask your teacher to check and plug the red MakeyMakey USB cable into a spare USB socket on the PC for you.

Using the Makey Makey 'Return to Earth' Button

  1. Find the 'Return to Earth' button (a silver metal button about 50mm wide on the desk top. on the left hand side of the PC - located close to the Makey Makey.
  2. Look and check that the alligator clip at end of the 'Return to Earth' button is attached to the silver strip that says 'Earth' on the Makey Makey.
  3. Check out the images below if you want more detail on how the Makey Makey is set up

Identify & Test the Makey Makey Leads and Alligator Clips

  1. Find the coloured leads whose alligator clips are attached to the silver tracks on the Makey Makey. One clip is attached from the Earth lead to the 'Return to Earth' button - this lead should not be disconnected
  2. Other clips can be moved from the silver Earth track and may be used to touch or connect to the left, right, up, down and space bars on the Makey Makey (there may be some additional leads attached to the bottom of the Makey Makey but we only require 5 to start.
  3. To test the Makey Makey, touch the 'Return to earth' button with your left hand while touching the round silver button labelled 'Space' on the Make Makey - You should see a LED flash on the Makey Makey and hear the PC play a musical sound
  4. While touching the 'Return to Earth' key, try pressing on the the silver UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT buttons on the Makey Makey.
  5. To find out how to use the alligator clips - See the image below in the section titled: 'Makey Makey: Connection and operation howto'
  6. By connecting up various items and pressing on the alligator clips with your fingers, you should be able to control the software on the PC screen and play sounds just as if you were playing a musical keyboard.
    1. If none of the sounds or objects work, then review the steps above and refer to the instructions on this link http://www.makeymakey.com/
    2. If you review steps and Makey Makey still not working, connect one end of an alligator clip to the silver Earth strip on the Makey Makey, and touch the other end of the lead to the silver 'UP' arrow on the Makey Makey. You should see LED flash on the Makey Makey and hear sound from the PC that it is attached to.

Makey Makey: Connection and operation howto. Also see http://www.makeymakey.com/
Makey Makey Connections

If all else fails, please ask your teacher for help.

Makey Makey Tasks & Experiments

IMPORTANT: You MUST record your results and observations on your work sheet as you go!

When you have your Makey Makey up and running:

  1. Try connecting interesting things to your MakeyMakey to find out what way you prefer to use to play music.
  2. Some items work and some do not. Make a list of the items that you have tried and make a comment to record if the item works or not.
  3. Try connecting a banana and other items.
  4. HINT: Connect your Makey Makey to some of the items in the list of 'Conductive Items' further down this page.
  5. Why do some items work and not others - record your results in the comments section

If time is available, your teacher may play a music track and ask you to play along with the music using your Makey Makey, If there is time available the end of this activity, students may use their Makey Makey instruments and play along with with the master sound track. If you play well and choose creative instruments, then your audience may even cheer and/or applaud your performance!

Data Collection & Results

Results will be tabulated (very simple example)*:

Energy Type Method Distance from switch (Min-Max) Benefits Liabilities Comments
Light Torch Up to 5 metres Safe and 'accessable' Batteries may be flat Need manual option
Light Keychain LED Up to 1 metre Safe but unreliable May not carry everywhereMay as well use manual
Heat Ice cubes Up to 10mm Water messy unsafe with electricity May not have ice Good refrigerator alarm
Movement Hand operated Up to 600mmReliable Unsafe in some situationsMost reliable

Table 1: Comparing energy types to activate electrical switch

learn/circuits/example-activities/switch-simple/home.txt · Last modified: 21/12/2016/ 18:22 by