Makey Makey: It’s Bananas

Kafui Sakyi-Addo, Writer, Photographer, Videographer

Raise your hand if you get genuinely excited about STEM. Okay, now keep your hand up if you get genuinely excited about STEM and you aren’t an engineering student. Chances are that not many students are still raising their hand.

When I was in 8th grade touring the school, they mentioned that they had a 3-D printer, which I thought was the coolest thing. But I assumed that it was only for the engineering students to use, and I didn’t hear anything else about it for 3 years- until this week. Unfortunately, our 3-D printer has been broken for quite some time, so it’s becoming more difficult for students that aren’t already enrolled in engineering classes to discover the creativity within themselves.

Enter: the Makey Makey. The Makey Makey is essentially a circuit attached to alligator clips and a USB cord. After connecting the USB cord to a computer, you’re more or less tricking the computer into thinking that whatever you attach the alligator clips to is the keyboard. So, you could connect the alligator clips to a bunch of bananas, for example, pull up an online piano, and play the piano with bananas- a banano, if you will. Or you could connect the alligator clips to buckets of water and play Dance Dance Revolution by stepping in and out of the buckets of water (not recommended in a classroom).

The creators of Makey Makey made it for more than just banana pianos, “[They] believe that everyone is creative, inventive, and imaginative. [They] believe that everyone can create the future and change the world. So [they] have dedicated our lives to making easy-to-use invention kits. [They] believe that the whole world is a construction kit, if we choose to see it that way. […] [They] want to help people start to think of themselves as Makers and agents of change. When you have the “Maker’s Mindset,” you know you can change the world.”

We wanted to show that you don’t have to be an engineering student to enjoy STEM-related things, they just have to be available to you, and right now, there isn’t much available to non-engineering students. Our students are interested in more than they even realize, but they aren’t always given the creative and literal tools to realize that.

Bob Jones’ librarian Cindy Huskey said, “Who knows, maybe they will create something, patent it, and make a bajillion dollars? But without the opportunity, we’ll never know.”

So many students were excited with something as simple as the Makey Makey, imagine how excited students would be if they could use the 3-D printer to design something for a presentation for one of their classes, or if they had other creative means to approach a project. Maybe even something as simple as building with legos and attaching motors to it? Or making a duct tape wallet? Perhaps something like investing in some Makey Makeys for our Makerspace, or getting our 3-D printer fixed, will help to encourage students whose natural inclination wouldn’t be to lean towards the STEM or art field.