28 kids, 3 computers, 1 Makey Makey…What could go wrong?!

Yesterday I was provided the amazing opportunity of teaching a great year 10 class that has been learning about 20th Century composition techniques, from chance music to phasing, from minimalism to pendulum microphones.

So I wanted to plan a lesson that somehow brought together the various elements they have been working on while tapping into the Maker Movement.

My idea was to have students working in 3 teams to:

  1. Creative team: Develop 30 second loops (using their acoustic/live instruments (i.e. not electronic) that demonstrate what they have been learning this term.
  2. Graphic team: program animation in Scratch that includes sound and activation on click commands.
  3. Activation team: Devise various click activations with MakeyMakey

So that….compositions are recorded and loaded into scratch animations, animations are then hooked up with MakeyMakey and performed.

The key to success is the students collaborating across each team. This was a big ask in 75 mins! To help I made a video to help explain the task and get students engaged.

Surprisingly, the lesson didn’t fall over and we managed to get some successes. Most importantly, 4 groups composed some great loops demonstrating musical techniques they had been learning and exposure to the possibilities of new technology. Students had to troubleshoot technology like recording, sharing and converting files to be imported into the program and devising clicks that matched the Makey Makey activation.

This was the first time for me teaching with this technology and already there is so much I can improve on this lesson to get it humming. Improving the rotation and collaboration element with specific timings will be key and determining on the importance of developing their own animations, or focusing on adapting others is also something I will be looking into to give greater focus on the musical element.

Here is a link to my Google Drive file with lesson plan and resources.