As we continue down our road of MakerSpace gadgets, I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorites. MakeSense is a company started by a NYC school teacher, Stephen Lewis, when he couldn’t find the right physical computing tool to help his class explore. MakeSense is a great plug and play device that, with a few sample projects on Scratch, allows the students to instantly see data being read and applied.
April 26th – MakeSense
Ironically, how Stephen Lewis describes MakeSense is exactly what I wanted for my classroom as well – he’s just more skilled and handy to create it. I found out of the two immediate tools available to me, MaKey MaKey and Arduino (post coming soon), there was a huge jump from gator clips to the breadboard and it frustrated and lost/turned off some kids (which speaks to a generational thing – but that’s another blog altogether) – but MakeSense is the perfect in between.
MakeSense is basically a plug and play board with 8 inputs and a collection of sensors. If you visit the website, on the top navigation it gives you getting started directions, examples and then a few Scratch projects that you can instantly jump in and starting using the data! The famous example is the heart monitor and horseracing game, which I made the mistake of showing and playing with my 3.5 and 5 year old niece and nephew and now that’s all they want to do. The basic board is $50 and the sensors range in the packs you get. It’s worth spending some time on both the sensors guide and the Scratch page to spark ideas and then learn/play/have fun!