Before I learned about Arduinos I had read about Makey-Makey boards. I had read about this project in SchoolArts magazine. It was the lightbulb moment that, for me, made me think we could create interactive art at Warman High. I loaned a kit from the Saskatoon Public Library to try out with my daughter so I could better understand how it works (they have awesome tech kits that they loan for 3 weeks at a time). The library kit came with a starter "how to" guide that led us to this website so that we could make our own piano out of celery sticks. We had to do a little bit of trouble shooting (the tinfoil needed to be tighter against her wrist to ensure contact) but what I loved was that she naturally problem-solved and figured out solutions as we went. After the celery experiment we tried the same thing but with pencil around the edges of a paper. We found that we had to draw pretty dark lines with a pencil (a 6B would probably create a much stronger connection than our household HB pencil). We also experimented with silver and gold sharpie, but there was no conductivity with those mediums.
Up for a challenge? Try downloading the Scratch program developed by users at MIT, and navigate to this pre-coded Piano. Follow step-by-step instructions from project 12 in 20 Make Makey Projects for the Evil Genius.
These are some of the key STEAM projects we will be focusing on this year:
Sarah Gerrard teaches Visual Arts 9-12 at Warman High School. She recently received a grant from the Prairie Spirit Schools Foundation to infuse her courses with STEAM.