Introduction: Makey Makey Code Breaker

This "instructable" will show you how to use your Makey Makey as a code breaker for an autobiographical number. When the correct number is put in sequence through your Makey Makey a message will pop up with whatever you decide. For example it could say "Congratulations - you broke the code!" or "You cracked this code. Use the letters "SUPER" to unlock the five-digit word lock!" and open a box with another clue or prize inside.

You can also use the code breaker as one of many in a sequence for a breakout or escape room. You can find an example of a "Leonardo DeVince Escape the Museum" event my colleagues and I hosted for 4th through 6th graders in October of 2019 at this link: Locked in the Museum Facilitator Guide


You will be building a Makey Makey Code Breaker using a piece of cardboard about 9 by 13 inches, a piece of fabric about 19 by 27 inches, adhesive spray glue, and 2 inch wide aluminum tape.

Step 1: Build Your Makey Makey Code Breaker

Spray one side of the piece of cardboard with the spray glue and place it face down on the center of the fabric. Flip the cardboard over and smooth out the fabric now sticking to the cardboard.

Flip the cardboard back over and spray glue to the other side and wrap the fabric around the cardboard so it is completely covered. You may need to spray glue to the corners and layers of the fabric.

Cut five strips of aluminum tape about 5 inches long. Start on the right side and place the strips on the fabric side of the cardboard with no seams, leaving a space of about 1/3 inch between them. Make sure a little of the tape wraps around the bottom edge of the cardboard.

Cut a strip of aluminum tape that is about 8 1/2 inches long and place it on the far left side with a space of about 1/3 inch between it and the last strip you taped. At the top of the cardboard attach a second strip of aluminum tape to the top of the last strip you taped so that it goes from right to left.

Step 2: Write Your Code Breaker Program in Scratch.

You can use this link to remix or change the code breaker program:

Special thanks to Ben Schafer, computer science professor at University of Northern Iowa, for sharing the initial version of this code.

Step 3: Set Up the Game.

In order to get the code for the Makey Makey sequence you will need to figure out the five-digit autobiographical number. An autobiographical number is a number that describes itself. Watch the video which tells you how to write an autobiographical number. You will need to watch the first 59 seconds to understand how to figure out an autobiographical number. Remember to start with 0 and use scratch paper for thinking. When you think you have the correct number it is time to go to your Makey Makey and use the Makey Makey Code Breaker to input that number in sequence and get the code for the next puzzle or end of the game.

Note: There are other autobiographical numbers. There are two four-digit, one five-digit, one six-digit, and one ten-digit autobiographical numbers. We used the five-digit one because our students needed the Makey Makey code breaker to open a five-digit lock. You can also use a series of notes in a song like the code we used for the Makey Makey code breaker at the event we hosted in October. This is linked at the first step of this Instructable.