Makey Says

Introduction: Makey Says

About: I make things and I help others to make things. Twitter: joshburker

Recreate the classic Simon Says game with your own homebrew version that uses the Makey Makey and a great Scratch project.


Makey Makey Classic, Cigar box or equivalent sized hinged-top box, Bowl that fits on top of the box, Corrugated cardboard, Pencil, Ruler, Box cutter, Masking tape, Thin cardboard (a cereal box works great), Paint: green, red, blue, and yellow, Paint brush, Aluminum foil, Permanent pen, Scissors, Glue stick, 22 gauge hookup, wire, ideally in two colors, Wire cutters/strippers, Copper tape with conductive adhesive, Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks, Needle nose pliers, Eight alligator clips, Drill with 1/4” and 1/2” bits, Safety glasses optional, Soldering iron and solder optional

Step 1: Overview

Game Plan

An air-gap switch is simply the two parts of a switch, in our case a key press and an Earth connection, separated by a short distance. When the air-gap switch is depressed by pressing it or stepping on it, the gap is closed and the switch is closed and activated. You are going to build four of them in this project. Start by cutting cardboard into pie shapes. Next you will build air gap switches. As you build the switches you will wire them as well. Once constructed, you adhere the switches to the cigar box. The completed Makey Says game is connected to the Makey Makey. Try to follow the pattern on the game pads!

Educator Tip:

These lessons were developed with the idea that teachers all over the globe and a variety of grade levels could hack the lesson plan to meet their students' needs. Therefore, these are just some of the standards the lessons are based on, and not an all-inclusive list.

Step 2:

Place an inverted bowl on your box. Make sure it fits with room to spare.

Step 3:

Trace a quarter of the bowl onto a piece of corrugated cardboard.

Step 4:

Use a ruler and pencil to complete the quarter circle on the corrugated cardboard.

Step 5:

Use a box cutter to carefully cut out the quarter circle.

Step 6:

Use the quarter circle you cut as a template to trace seven additional quarters. Carefully cut out the quarter circles with the box cutter.

Step 7:

Use a slightly smaller circle to draw a quarter circle inside one of the cardboard quarter circles you already cut. A roll of masking tape worked perfectly as a template.

Step 8:

Use the box cutter to carefully cut the smaller quarter circle from the larger quarter circle. Retain the cut cardboard. Repeat on three additional large quarter circles.

Step 9:

Use one of the large cardboard quarter circles as a template to trace four copies onto the thin cardboard.

Step 10:

Use scissors to cut out the quarter circles from the thin cardboard.

Step 11:

Shake up the paint to mix it.

Step 12:

Paint the thin cardboard with green, red, blue, and yellow in the order shown (clockwise from top left).

Step 13:

Use the smallest quarter circle left over from step 7 to trace eight quarter circles on aluminum foil with the permanent pen.

Step 14:

Use a glue stick to adhere the aluminum foil in the center of the large corrugated cardboard quarter circle, as shown.

Step 15:

Place the large corrugated cardboard circles on the cigar box to determine where you will glue them. Use a hot glue gun and hot glue to affix them to the outside lid of the box.

Step 16:

Cut a six inch piece of wire. Strip three inches of insulation from one end. Place one of the large corrugated cardboard quarter circles without its center over the other large quater circle. Feed the wire through the corrugation. Bend the wire so it fits over the aluminum foil pad.

Step 17:

Use a short piece of copper tape with conductive adhesive to affix the wire to the aluminum foil. Repeat on the other three pads.

Step 18:

Use a glue stick and a quarter circle of aluminum foil to affix a piece of foil over the wire and lower piece of foil. Make sure the foil is smoothed down over the lower pad. Repeat on the other three pads.

Step 19:

Turn one of the painted thin pieces of cardboard over. Cut a six inch piece of wire, preferably a different color. Strip two inches of insulation from one end. Use masking tape to affix the insulated part of the wire to the underside of the thin cardboard. Use copper tape with conductive adhesive to hold the bare wire to the paper, too.

Step 20:

Remove 1/2 an inch of insulation from the lower pad wire and the upper pad wire you just built. Connect the wires with alligator clips, the wire from the lower pad to the Space key on the Makey Makey, the wire from the upper pad of thin cardboard to the Earth on the Makey Makey. Plug the USB in to the Makey Makey. Plug the Makey Makey into the computer. Gently but firmly press the pads together: you should see a light on the Makey Makey. Confirm that the light does not remain on. If the light remains on, make sure the wire is firmly attached to the underside of the thin cardboard with copper tape.

Step 21:

Build the remaining upper pads with six inch lengths of wire attached to the thin cardboard. Test fit the pieces and make sure you have them in the correct order.

Step 22:

Use a hot glue gun and hot glue to affix the thin cardboard to the lower pads.

Step 23:

Use a drill with a 1/4” bit to carefully drill a hole in the center of the circles, making sure to avoid drilling the wires.

Step 24:

Route the wires in pairs through the hole. Bend them under the corresponding color pad on the box lid.

Step 25:

This step is optional. If you used stranded wire you should consider tinning the ends where you will clip the alligator clips to reduce wear on the wires. Put on your safety glasses. Warm up the soldering iron. Use solder to carefully tin the ends of the stranded wires.

Step 26:

Put a dollop of hot glue where the wires come through the hole to reduce any stress on the wires.

Step 27:

Drill a 1/2” hole in the back of the cigar box.

Connect alligator clips to the ground wires from the thin cardboard. Route the wires through the hole in the back of the box.

Step 28:

Gather the alligator clip wires. Use the clear twist tie from the red USB cable to group the cables neatly. Connect the alligator clips to Earth on the Makey Makey.

Step 29:

Connect alligator clips to the wires from the lower pads. Route the alligator clips through the hole in the back of the box. Use a short section of wire to secure the alligator clips together neatly.

Step 30:

Connect the alligator clips in this order to the Makey Makey arrow keys:

  • Red: Up
  • Blue: Down
  • Green: Right
  • Yellow: Left

Step 31:

Step 32:

Check out this example.

Step 33: Extensions (Optional)

  • Remix the Scratch project. Turn the game into a literacy game, with Scratch helping you learn to spell different words. The buttons on the screen could flash letters in addition to colors.
  • Construct the buttons of more durable materials. Make them light up!
  • Use your skills to program your own Scratch project that runs a version of Simon Says.
  • Remix the Scratch project to post high scores to the Scratch website cloud. You could have a running global high score for your Scratch project!

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