Introduction: Animals Around the World Controller
The purpose of this project is to use a fun and creative way to learn about animals by playing the Animals Around the World game in Scratch. This instructable includes instructions on how to build the “Safari Jeep” controller as well as how to code the game in Scratch to make it your own. The game consists of various mazes in different parts of the world. To get through the maze, you have to be aware of the other animals in the habitat and dodge the predators before they send you back to the beginning. The controller makes the experience more fun by giving the user the feeling of driving as well as making the games a little more challenging. This project is great for children between the ages of 7-12.
Here is the link to the game in Scratch: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/131715372/#player
2 cardboard boxes, about 20 inches in length and 12 inches in width
Small cardboard box, extra cardboard to cut, paper towel roll center
1 MakeyMakey Classic Kit
Alligator clips of various sizes
Child-sized safari hat
Packing tape, Duct tape
Large colored construction paper
Hot glue gun
Step 1: The Box
The first step is to cut your box. You need the bottom to be open so cut off the flaps if there are any. Next, place your box face down and draw a diagonal line starting from about 3 inches in on the width side to about 3 inches up on the height side. Cut along this line on both sides so they’re equal and cut off the extra cardboard on the length of the box. Now your box will slant down and be easier to use.
Now you need to cut holes on the top of the box where the pieces of the controller will go. If you want to make the end product look nicer, now is also the time to cover the top of the box with large colored construction paper.
On the left half of the box, measure a square that is a few centimeters larger than the diameter of the paper towel roll center. Then measures an inch more on each edge of the square to make a hole in the shape of an emergency cross.
On the right side of the box, simply cut a hole on the top and bottom corner big enough to fit a bit of foil into (about 1/2 inch diameter).
Step 2: Making the Controls
Now cut out four 1.5 x 2.5 inch pieces from your extra cardboard. Fold them in half and tape them onto each side of the cross so that they fold down inside the box. Use your foil tape to line the little pieces with foil. Extend past the cardboard piece and tape to the bottom side of the box so that a little piece of foil is sticking up. You’ll need to connect wires to that later.
Now line the binoculars with the foil tape so that there is a piece of foil about 4-5 inches long sticking out of the bottom. Connect an alligator clip to this piece. You may want to tape the clip on for reinforcement.
Cut out a rectangle from your extra cardboard. Line this with either the foil tape or aluminum foil if that’s easier. Again, make sure the foil extends out from the center of the bottom and connect an alligator clip to it.
Stick the binoculars in the bottom hole and the rectangle in the top hole, making sure the alligator clips and extended foil pieces are completely inside the box. Tape or glue the outside pieces to the box so they’ll stay put.
Step 3: The Steering Wheel
Now we need to build the “steering wheel”. Cut a few inches off the end of your paper towel roll. Cut that smaller piece down the side so it’s no longer connected to itself in a circle. Tape it back together so there are a couple centimeters overlapping each other, effectively making that piece’s diameter slightly smaller than the original. Cut four small slits on the bottom, each slit 90 degrees from the next. Now you can fold out the flaps you’ve made. Save this for later.
Using your extra cardboard, cut out a circle with a diameter of about 6 inches. Tape or glue this to one end of your original paper towel roll. Cover the entire thing with foil tape (you can stop once you get near the bottom of the paper towel roll). Make sure the tape is continuous (no full tears) since the sticky side is not conductive and electricity needs to flow through the whole piece. The smoother the tape is on the paper towel roll, the better this will work.
Cut a piece of cardboard from your second box to make a bottom for the game box. It will be helpful to cut it at the fold so you can easily attach it to the sides. Place the bottom piece where it will be attached, but don’t tape anything down yet. With a pen, drop the point straight down from the center of the cross and make a mark on the bottom cardboard. Tape the smaller paper towel piece where you marked. Put the game box back on and test if the steering wheel fits on the piece you just taped without touching the foil flaps.
Step 4: Wiring
Now we need to wire everything. Connect alligator clips to each of the four foil pieces on the back of the cross. Reinforce with tape if you’d like.
Cut out a couple of square holes in your small cardboard box. They need to be big enough to fit all the wires through while still holding the MakeyMakey inside. Once that’s done, put the MakeyMakey inside of the small box and then carefully attach the alligator clips to the corresponding place.
Wiring the MakeyMakey is pretty straightforward once you understand how it works. For this project, the pieces of the controller correspond to your computer through the MakeyMakey as follows:
Steering Wheel Cross: Arrow Keys
Blue Wire = Up
Green Wire = Down
Yellow Wire = Left
White Wire = Right
Binoculars: Space Bar
Map Rectangle: ‘A’ key
Small Black pin wire and Grey alligator clip
Hat: Ground (you’ll make this piece later)
USB: Red USB wire. Small end goes into MakeyMakey, big end outside of box
*Note: This is only an example of where the wires go. You’ll need to do this while the MakeyMakey is inside of its little box in order to keep the wires organized and safe*
Step 5: The Grounding Hat
Cover the inside of the safari hat with aluminum foil and glue. I suggest starting off by cutting the foil into strips to shape the inside of the hat. Then take a square piece of foil and twist the middle into a little point. This point needs to stick out of the top of the hat, so make sure there is some sort of hole there. Continue covering the inside of the hat with foil, making sure it’s sturdy and there are no tears. Cover the brim with the foil tape for extra security and aesthetic.
Once you have everything glued down, attach the “Ground” alligator clip to the top where the foil should be sticking out. If you would like, you can connect as many alligator clips to the original to make it longer. Let that wire come out of the front side of the box. While you’re at it, cut a small hole in the back of the box to feed the USB wire through.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
Now to put it all together.
Tape the small wirebox somewhere inside of the control box. Make sure the wires all have plenty of slack and won’t come apart. I would suggest using a piece of foil or some other material to tie the wires together for extra security.
Once that’s in place, attach the bottom cover to the control box using the extra flaps to secure it to the sides of the box. Be sure that the steering wheel stand is directly underneath the cross. Now you may stick the steering wheel in place.
Connect the USB to a computer and start Animals Around the World in Scratch. Put on the hat, with foil touching your skin, and you’re ready to go!