Introducing the STEM Pack

Classroom Invention Literacy Kit

We're launching this giant new box of Makey Makeys; perfect for classrooms, museums, homeschools, workshop teachers, and anyone else that wants all their Makey Makeys in a really nicely organized briefcase - the distillation of 12 Makey Makeys and 12 booster packs with some extra parts for when you want to invent something even bigger.

The Makey Makey STEM Pack contains 12 Makey Makey Classics, 12 alligator clips 6ft, 12 connector wires 6ft, 72 extra alligator clips, 144 connector wires for the back, 12 Makey Makey optimized conductive graphite pencils, and a super cool case to keep it all tidy.

Each of the 12 Makey Makeys has its own box that comes out of the case containing the Makey Makey, USB cable, 7 alligator clips, 6 connector wires, and how-to booklet.

The STEM pack comes at a time when we're expanding the resources available to teachers that bring Makey Makey into their classrooms. We're finding teachers across subjects use Makey Makey to create physical interfaces to all kinds of work being done on computers, from hacking poetry to sculpting the digestive system to exploring art history, not to mention game design and circuitry.

We've created Makey Makey Labz, a platform for people to share project guides and lesson plans. We're training partners at science centers to give Makey Makey teacher trainings. And now, a Makey Makey STEM pack to tie it all together. We can't wait to see what the teachers and students of the world invent next!

The Makey Makey STEM pack will be available soon. Sign up for our newsletter to get notified when it launches.

Our Trip to SXSW

Once a year the Makey Makey family travels from all our respective corners of the world and we meet up for a big reunion - this year we got together down in Austin for SXSW. We did last year, too. Read about that here.

We missed most of the music, but we made it to edu and create.
Read all about it. . . .


Reaching 95% Invention Literacy

Jay was the first to arrive. He came early to hold a core conversation with our friend Colleen Graves at edu. A core convo is a socratic style seminar where the hosts, Colleen and Jay, ask questions of the audience and facilitate a conversation. It turned into a great session with voices from all over the place - voices you can here on the soundcloud link up there. Note that some people don't talk into the microphone so there are some weird silences in the recording.

Colleen wrote a great post with her reflections on the session that you can find here on her blog.

You can also watch parts of the session filmed live on Periscope and Facebook.

The World Needs More Inventors, Starting with Kids

Liam joined our friends Danielle Applestone and Emily Pilloton on a panel discussion on the role of invention in the world today and the world of the future. If you can make it through the long drawn out description of a mountain dulcimer, the rest of the panel is quite good.

SXSW Create

As SXSWedu came to a close the rest of the team came down to Austin to setup for SXSW Create - the Maker part of SXSW.

We set up some demos - including the classic banana piano, operation game, and Dave's favorite, the musical forest! You can find the script we used for the musical forest here

We ate tacos every day, had some great barbecue, and celebrated Mariel's birthday! Happy birthday, Mars!

Colleen and Aaron Graves came by our booth and set up a really cool Makey Makey GO project called Lemon Squeezy from their upcoming book 20 Makey Makey Projects for the Evil Genius.

The team picture we took with help from our neighbors at the exhibitor center, Nifty! They came all the way from Japan with these giant Big Face Boxes - find a guide for creating your own in English and Japanese here.

We had a great time. Thanks Austin!

From top, photos by Tom Heck, Colleen Graves, Mindy Ahrens

Global Maker Project Reveals MakeKey Findings

As the maker movement in education gains speed, more and more initiatives are seeking data to show the value of the makerspace as classroom and the creative technologies they contain. One such project, seeking to understand the benefits of student-directed learning and making has come from HP and Microsoft’s Reinvent the Classroom initiative called the Learning Studios Project. The Learning Studios project is a network of schools willing to try projects and explore technologies, then share their experiences through anecdotes and pre and post surveys. The aim of the project study is to collect qualitative information about changes in engagement, agency, empathy and design thinking in students.

A Learning Studio was created at each site by providing teacher’s with a guide to facilitating student-led, creative processes, as well as a startup kit of free creative technologies to explore. For instance, each Learning Studio site was provided a set of Makey Makeys and two live webinars with JoyLabz (Makey Makey) VP of Education Initiatives, Tom Heck. "We've thoroughly enjoyed partnering with Digital Promise Global on the Learning Studios project," shares Tom. "Working together, we've been able to support teachers and students from around the world." Teachers could choose from many possible projects using various tools and prompts. After four months of projects, teachers shared the following highlights of using the Makey Makey kits in their classrooms;

  • Makey Makey kits are accessible to learners across varying ages and skill levels

  • Students do not not need close supervision or guidance to experiment with the Makey Makey kits.

  • Makey Makey kits help educators introduce basic circuitry concepts and build on those concepts by using the kits in more complex projects.

  • Projects using the Makey Makey kits do not need to focus solely on circuitry--they can pertain to a wide range of subjects and topics.

  • The Makey Makey kits make it easy and fun for parents to engage with what students are learning

Sample projects made with the Makey Makey ranged from game design to set design for a school play. “Our students designed, performed and hosted a holiday production at their school. They created an interactive experience of “magic” by configuring the Makey Makeys to trigger sounds when actors, actresses and audience members interacted with the props and scenes,” a 6th grade teacher from a USA site shares.

A highschool teacher in New Zealand shared that “Students selected a game and then worked on creating a game controller that will be effective as a control, but also reflect the nature of the game. This stage involved them creating 2D drawings and then a cardboard model to allow them to determine how the controller would feel in a player’s hand. The models (were) then created using CAD software and exported for printing on a 3D printer. The challenge (was) then completing the wiring to allow the Makey Makey board to operate as a game controller.”

Broader areas of focus in the study centered around student benefits in three areas; peer and social learning, persistence and curiosity, and agency and initiative. Significant findings from all of the Learning Studio sites showed increases in student and teacher confidence and comfort using new tools, 3D modeling, and defining problems. A key finding from the white paper states, “Student responses to “Are you a maker” were significantly lower for teachers with little making background, and were relatively high for students of teachers who reported prior experience with making and facilitating students in making activities. In other words, role models matter when trying to foster creative confidence and peer relations in a space designed for collaborative problem solving.

Read the full initial findings from the HP and Microsoft’s Reinvent the Classroom Learning Studios Project here.

Workshop at el Garage

Last week Tom & Liam travelled to Mexicali, the capitol of Baja California, Mexico, to teach a workshop to elementary school teachers and makerspace volunteers at el Garage Makerspace at the Universidad 16 de Septiembre. The workshop was organized with support from the US Consulate in Tijuana who's promoting STEM educational initiatives in Mexican schools.

Preeti Shah from the US Consulate

The workshop opened up with a really nice introduction from the founder of the university, Manuel Ruelas Jiménez. Preeti Shah from the US Consulate spoke about their STEM education initiatives and Andrés Ruelas, founder of the makerspace and Manual's grandson, talked about their mission at the Makerspace.

As the workshop got underway, Liam sat down with members of the university and the consulate to speak with the local media.

El Garage will continue hosting Makey Makey teacher trainings for educators in Baja. Teachers who attended the workshop will use Makey Makeys with their classes in a design challenge organized by el Garage Makerspace - we can't wait to see what they invent!

If you're interested in taking a Makey Makey teacher training, find a training parter near you!

Makey Makey Match in Effect

Send our schools some love this Valentine's Day

Now more than ever, schools around the country need to feel our support. Perusing the campaigns on DonorsChoose is a tour through the vital requests of classrooms across America.

Give $35 or more to any classroom through DonorsChoose this February and we will match your gift with a free Makey Makey to that classroom.

Just tweet us your receipt, post it on facebook and tag us, or email us and we will send that classroom a valentine Makey Makey.

We can only send 1 kit per classroom, a max 100 Makey Makeys, and the Makey Makey for Dollar Match expires February 28th.

See Us at SXSW!

This year we'll be at SXSWedu and SXSW Create!


Jay is on the panel Reaching 95% Invention Literacy
March 8th, 2:00PM

Jay is on this panel with Maker/Librarian Colleen Graves. They'll talk about what Invention Literacy is, why it's important, and how all types of educators can bring it into what they teach.

Liam is on the panel The World Needs More Inventors, Starting With Kids
March 9th, 11:00AM

Liam joins Danielle Applestone of Other Machine Co in a discussion moderated by Emily Pilloton on how to inspire our diverse world to be more creative and engaged in STEM education in the classroom and beyond.

SXSW Create

After edu, the rest of the Makey Makey family will rendezvous in Austin for SXSW Create! The hardware hacking and maker arm of SXSW. It's free and open to the public, so drop by and see us if you're in Austin!
Friday, March 10 – Sunday, March 12, 11:00AM - 6:00PM

You can find more info on SXSW Create here.

photo by Merrick Ales

Wired Science

Dave Barton chats to game design professor and pro maker/coder/creative, Jerry Belich, about his interactive gaming workshops and how Makey Makey helps lift the ‘fog of understanding’.

It’s always reassuring to discover that those teaching you aren’t just accumulators of knowledge; they’re active participants and practitioners of the craft they’re so passionate about.

Deep in the American Midwest you’ll find Miami University (the Ohio one). And it’s here that Jerry Belich, a game design professor, continues to inspire, engage, and educate students with his infectious enthusiasm for interactive gaming experiences.

A seasoned games designer, who’s also pursuing an MFA in Experience Design, Jerry’s been creating video games since high school, studying computer science and theatre at college, before embarking on a career in mobile development and digital marketing. He’s now teaching classes and running workshops on alternative controller design.

“My job at the university is pretty much the culmination of everything I’ve done in my career so far,” he says “I love creating experiences for people, telling stories, weaving narratives, and learning to create things people want to engage with.”

Jerry’s focus is on deconstructing existing games and getting students to understand the player experience, primarily using Teensy microcontrollers and Makey Makeys for alternative controller workshops.

“I really want students to start prototyping ideas as soon as they have them and begin building completely original games. For teaching, Makey Makey is priceless. It does such an excellent job of stripping away the fog of understanding: the scary bits about working with electronics, electricity, and even code.”

To explain his approach is, he gives the example of a workshop he ran as game designer-in-residence at Eastern Kentucky University, involving both adults and children.

“For the kids it was about giving them building blocks to understand ways to bring their ideas to life,” he says. “But most of the adults who came to the workshop had never worked directly with electronics, and were a bit embarrassed about how little they understood. But using tech like Makey Makey gave them small victories to get over that block.”

Armed with a box of Teensy microcontrollers, custom firmware, a few Makey Makeys, and lots of cardboard, wire, buttons, switches, and copper tape, the Kentucky workshop group created a four player ‘fencing’ game. Using wands tipped with tinfoil, players stabbed at a hanging ball after pressing buttons with their feet.

Here are some pictures of the game.
“A super simple computer app was made, using Sketch, to keep score. It was all possible with the Makey Makeys. They really helped to stimulate the whole group’s appetite for creativity,” he explains.

As Jerry continues to explore what he calls ‘the unique Venn intersection of game design, storytelling, and making’, his passion is also fuelled by a number of side projects -- including an interactive fiction arcade called The Choosatron, which started as a personal project, but has since gained over $75,000 of Kickstarter funding. Not bad considering the original goal was $22,000.

It’s being able to bring ideas to life that continues to send Jerry deeper down the rabbit hole of mad science.

“Teaching is going to be my bag for a while. The experience has allowed me to interact with other creators and students from all over the world, sharing everything I’ve learned and discovered. I'm just so excited to help teach game designers how to DESIGN.”

Thanks Jerry! Keep us in the loop on any other neat stuff you and your students bring to life.

Want to follow Jerry? Find him on Twitter @j3rrytron and check out his website:

Original Packaging

This week Jay sent around an email with the original list of sayings put together for the Makey Makey packaging in 2012. It's funny to see what's still around and what has faded into the background over the years.

Anyway - here's the list!

  • What is Civil Disobedience in a digital era?
  • Be stoked
  • The World is your Construction Kit
  • Search the internet for: Sir Ken Robinson cartoon
  • "[I] don’t ask what the world needs. [I] ask what makes [me] come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman
  • Warning! Extended usage may result in creative confidence!!!
  • Search the internet for: TED Makey Makey
  • Warning! If you remake your world, some governments and corporations may crumble!!!
  • Consume Makerism
  • Paths through life are as many as humans in the world!
  • Is love the answer?
  • What can I make in the next 3 minutes?
  • Pardon me, but my Banana Piano is not for sale!
  • I care
  • Image Search the web for: Andy Goldsworthy
  • Makers: Humans who Change the World one Tiny little Piece at a Time
  • The world I want to live in is one made not by 10 scientists, 100 designers, or 1000 politicians, but one built by Seven Billion pairs of hands
  • What can I make for a friend that would make them cry from happiness?
  • Feel it, think it, say it, write it, build it, change the world!
  • My mom is a maker
  • Learn How to Learn
  • Search the internet for: Maker Faire
  • Your simple daily and nightly self determination may very well change the course of history
  • Banana ________
  • What can I make to get the world laughing?
  • What happens when I touch a flower?

Makey Makey Labz

Introducing. . . Makey Makey Labz!

We're launching a new platform for Makey Makers to peruse and create project guides!

Go beyond the banana piano by exploring guides made by inventors around the world - from powering a reading lamp to making your own computer powered board games.

Explore Makey Makey Labz!

Beta Testing

Makey Makey Labz is still in beta, so there are parts of the platform that'll changing - and we'd love to hear your thoughts about it!
To report bugs or suggest changes, please email


If you're a teacher you can set up your class in Makey Makey Labz and assign step-by-step guides to your students! Choose from tons of pre-written lesson plans, write your own, or modify pre-existing projects to work for your classroom.

School Support
- Browse through tons of lesson plans created by us and by other educators from around the world
- Set up a classroom with student logins and assign activities, track progress in real-time, and review student work. - Sign in with your Clever account.
- Filter projects by CCSS and NGSS standards
- Create a private activity and administer it to your class without sharing it to the entire community.
- Document your inventions and post project guides
- Show off your inventions in the gallery
- Ask questions and share tips through comments

Here's a screenshot of a Labz guide

Q&A With Makey Makey Jedi Colleen Graves

Watch the Q&A from Jan 11th!

We sat down and chatted with our friend Colleen Graves who is a high school librarian and blogger, obsessed with Learning Commons transformations, Makerspaces, Makey Makey, technology education, making stuff, and getting girls involved in STEM. She offers the unique perspective of starting/creating two different makerspaces and Girl STEM groups in established public schools. Colleen writes and presents about creating Makerspaces in the book Challenge Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace. Plus, she collaborated with her husband to create a Makerspace project book for makers of any caliber that is peppered with classroom tips: The Big Book of Makerspace Projects: Inspiring Makers to Experiment, Create, and Learn. Plus, she and her #superlibrarianhubs are currently working on finishing up 20 Makey Makey Projects for the Evil Genius.

Thanks for watching!