Influential Women Speak Up

The following story was originally shared on Twitter by Krista Inchausti, Educational Innovation Coordinator at Convent & Stuart Hall in San Francisco. Krista works in the Spark Studio, a collaborative learning studio space shared by the boys school (Stuart Hall for Boys) and a girls school (Convent Elementary) on the same campus. The following blog is in her words.

A few years ago we purchased several Makey Makey kits to use in our school's Spark Studio. We began hosting Friday lunches in the Spark Studio, inviting classroom teachers to come eat and play with our new tools. After we demonstrated the Makey Makeys teachers began brainstorming how they could be used in the classroom. Building upon the demo Makey Makey piano project, they started talking about replacing the piano notes with recorded voices.

Diane Holland, second grade teacher, then came up with the idea of her girls creating a huge "teaching cricket." Her students recorded facts and sound effects for each of the insects' body parts, wired the cricket up with the Makey Makey and then took it into Kindergarten classrooms to teach the younger students science. Crystal the Teaching Cricket was such a hit (pictured above) that Diane was motivated to take this kind of interactive teaching tool to the next level.

Diane came up with the idea of talking, life-sized models for her annual Influential Women projects. This years project would have second graders building figures on top of rolling dress forms, then wired up with the Makey Makeys. The girls researched, then recorded facts about each woman. The voices were then put into Scratch and activated by pressing copper buttons connected to the Makey Makey.

The girls built four women all together, Maya Lin, Althea Gibson, Louise Nevelson and Sonia Sotomayor. As the Educational Innovation Coordinator, I simply helped Diane and her students put the pieces together and make it work properly. The great thing about the Makey Makey kit Is that it provides an easy-to-use technical foundation to build on, leaving plenty of room for teacher and student creativity!