A DIY kit that taught the fundamentals of electricity through sound

Photo of the first version of the boards


The GadgIteration Noise Maker Kit is a simple electronics board and kit that teaches the fundamentals of electricity through sound composition and is simple enough that anyone can understand. What if teachers and after-school providers were as comfortable with electronics as they are with calculators, markers, books, and blocks? Would children then develop an innate understanding of electricity and interaction design? If kids could hack safe, low-cost computational boards, with simple in and outputs, would they begin to view themselves as makers and tinkerers? If tweens are given the tools to construct their own knowledge of circuits and switches would “sketching with hardware” become as much a part of their cultural practices as drawing, writing, posting, and re-mixing? Will these same children be better prepared and more disposed to future learning in chemistry and physics? Scrapyard Challenge Jr. explores these questions. Our team is part of the national movement to evolve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to STEAM, folding Art and Design into the rubric.


Photo of the second version of the boards

Photo of the third version of the boards

Photo of the kit assembled!

Build The Kit! Instructables Link

Inside your kit, you’ll find all the parts you need to make your own noisemaker:

The Team

Jonah Brucker-Cohen
Katherine Moriwaki
Joseph Saavedra
Louisa Campbell
Liza Stark


Parsons School of Design, 1/28/2012
RidgeCrest Intermediate School, 2/28/2012

Parts List:

– 1 8-ohm speaker

– 1 1/8″ headphone jack

– 1 10kΩ potentiometer

– 3 resistors (2 1kΩ, 1 200Ω)

– 3 capacitors: .1uf, 4.7uF, 10uF

– 2 SPDT slide switches

– 2 LEDs (red, blue)

– 1 2.1mm barrel jack for power supply

– 1 LM7805 voltage regulator

– 1 555 timer IC, socket

– 1 9-volt battery enclosure with on/off switch

– 1 4-pole spring terminal

Video Documentation of the kits in action:

Photos of the Workshops


The Scrapyard Challenge Junior Workshops are a new version of the Scrapyard Challenge Workshops which are intensive workshops run by Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki where participants build simple electronic projects (both digital and analog inputs) out of found or discarded “junk” (old electronics, clothing, furniture, outdated computer equipment, appliances, turntables, monitors, gadgets, etc..). So far the workshops have been held 52 times in 14 countries, on 5 continents with 3 different themes including the MIDI Scrapyard Challenge where participants build simple musical controllers from discarded objects and “junk”, DIY Wearable Challenge where they create wearable tech projects from used clothing, and the DIY Urban Challenge where they work on public space interventions and other projects. The MIDI Scrapyard version includes a mini workshop where participants build simple drawing robots or “DrawBots” with small, inexpensive motors, batteries, and drawing markers that can also be connected to Serial or MIDI interface. At the end of the day or evening, the workshop participants have a small performance, concert, or fashion show (depending on the workshop theme) where they demonstrate and present their creations together as a group. No electronics skills or any experience with technology is necessary to participate in the workshops.