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That’s bananas! Kids make music using fruit slices, cups of water

Have you ever played bongos with sliced bananas? Or played the piano with cups of water? It sounds strange -- but it's not impossible. A group of Perham kids did it earlier this month, using Makey Makey invention kits. On May 16, an after-school ...

Tiegan Detloff, Carter Flatau and Ashton Detloff, left to right, laugh it up while playing the 'banana bongos' with their Makey Makey invention kits at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School earlier this month. Submitted photo
Tiegan Detloff, Carter Flatau and Ashton Detloff, left to right, laugh it up while playing the 'banana bongos' with their Makey Makey invention kits at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School earlier this month. Submitted photo

Have you ever played bongos with sliced bananas? Or played the piano with cups of water?

It sounds strange -- but it’s not impossible. A group of Perham kids did it earlier this month, using Makey Makey invention kits.

On May 16, an after-school Engineering Class for grades 2-4 opened the eyes of some Heart of the Lakes Elementary School students to the vast, intriguing and sometimes downright silly possibilities of scientific invention.

According to class instructor Jena Rosemore, “The students loved it.”

Makey Makey is an electronic invention tool and toy that connects everyday objects -- like bananas and cups of water -- to computer programs through the use of a circuit board, alligator clips and a USB cable.

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The engineering students used Makey Makey to digitally connect banana slices and cups of water to their Google Chromebooks. Whenever a student would tap a finger on a banana slice, Makey Makey would recognize that and send an electronic signal to a computer program on the Chromebook, and digital bongos would play. When a student would dip a finger into a cup of water, digital piano music would play. Different cups would play different notes, like different keys on a piano.

The Makey Makey kits were purchased with funds from the 549 Foundation, to help introduce the kids to STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

In an email to the Focus, HOTL Technology Integrationist Deanna Kovash wrote, “We greatly appreciate how the 549 Foundation continues to support our drive to continue to introduce the latest technology to the students in our district.”

A writer, editor and mom of four (two kids, two dogs), Marie's been in the newspaper business for over 20 years. She started at the Detroit Lakes Tribune in 2017 after working just down the road at the Perham Focus for several years. Before that, she was at the Herald-Review in Grand Rapids, Minn.
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