Makey Makey + Scratch Interactive Clock with Makey Max

Unlock the potential of interactive clocks to revolutionize the way time is taught. Dive into the "How-To Guide: Interactive Clocks Edition" and watch as learning comes to life in a whole new way. Get ready to inspire, engage, and innovate! 

Craft a Paper Clock

Learn to craft and code an interactive clock using Makey Makey and Scratch so students can physically engage with the clock, reinforcing their understanding in a tangible way.

5 Minute Interval Makey Makey Clock

To get started, craft a clock with two pieces of cardstock. 

Makey Makey Kit with paper clock. Clock hands are made of foil and there are brass fasteners at 12,3,6,9 so Makey Makey can tell the time.

If you have a Cricut cutter, you can use this design in the Cricut Design Space to draw and cut your clock.  

Cardstock on Cricut mat, clock face is drawn on yellow paper
Use contrasting color so the time intervals show up clearly.
yellow clock face on cardstock being placed on blue cardstock
Cut a minute hand and hour hand out of cardstock. Cover the minute hand with foil and use a brass fastener to hold the hands in place. Make sure the foil in the minute hand connects with the brass fastener as this will be the EARTH connection for your Makey Makey clock controller. 
A foil hour hand is placed on yellow cardstock with clock face


Add Conductive Touchpoints

Add brass fasteners at 12, 3, 6, 9 intervals to make an easy clock with conductive touchpoints at 15 minute intervals.

Hand placing brads on 12,3,6,9 on a paper clock on yellow cardstock
If you want to code each 5 minute interval, place more brass fasteners around the clock.
Hand placing brass fasteners at the 5 min increments on a paper clock

 You can code your clock to say time phrases, the minute hand, or even speak the time phrases in different languages! Create a "change mode" section with two brass fasteners so you can have multiple functions with this one clock. One brass fastener will function as EARTH and the other will function as Space key. When someone touches both as once, this will change the mode of the clock.

Circle with "Change mode" written and two brass fasteners above the words
Make sure to label all the key presses on the back of the clock to stay organized.
Blue cardstock (back of the clock) there are brass fasteners placed at all the five minute increments. A hand is labeling each point with the Makey Makey key press for each spot.
Wire Up Project
You'll have two EARTH connections on this controller. One EARTH connection will be the minute hand on the clock and one will be in the "change mode" section. On the back of your clock, use conductive tape to connect the EARTH connections and now you will only need one alligator clip for EARTH!
Tape from EARTH in the center of the paper to EARTH by the change mode section
For the easy clock wire the following intervals to the appropriate key press on Makey Makey.
Makey Makey Easy Clock
  • Up Arrow : 00 minutes / Top of the Hour
  • Right Arrow : 15 minutes / 15 After
  • Down Arrow : 30 minutes / Half past the hour
  • Left Arrow : 45 minutes / Three quarters past / 15 till
Wires on back of clock to up, down, left, right and plugged into Makey Makey
If you want to wire up the 5 minute intervals, add these connections:
Makey Max 5 Minute Clock:

Up Arrow : 00 minutes
W key : 5 minutes
A key : 10 minutes
Right Arrow : 15 minutes
S key : 20 minutes
D key : 25 minutes
Down Arrow : 30 minutes
F key : 35 minutes
G key : 40 minutes
Left Arrow : 45 minutes
Number 1 : 50 minutes
Number 2 : 55 minutes


Optional: Remap for Makey Max


    Make sure you have a Makey Makey of 1.4 or higher to use with the Makey Makey Backpack. (You can remap 1.2 or higher and use jumper wires if you do not have the Makey Makey Backpack bundle)

    Click here to open remap page!

    Follow the illustration on the remap page to place alligator clips. One clip from the up arrow to down arrow and one clip connected from the left arrow to the right arrow. This will put Makey Makey into a remap state.

    Once you are in the remap software, hold EARTH and move the cursor on the page by pressing the arrow key inputs on Makey Makey. When you get to the mouse header section, press click, then navigate to change the top mouse input to the number 1. Repeat until you've changed all of the mouse inputs to the numbers 1-6. (For this project you only need to change two mouse controls to the numbers 1 and 2.)

    Make sure to save your settings!

    After all keys are remapped, click the down arrow and tap SAVE to maintain the remapped keys. Until you put Makey Makey into a remap state again, these inputs are now remapped to your new choices. You might want to label your Makey Makey so you remember that it is remapped! (You can always go into remap mode and put Makey Makey key inputs back to the default.)

    Once your Makey Makey mouse controls are remapped, you are ready to attach the Makey Max backpack. Align all pins on the backpack board with the headers on Makey Makey.  

    Gently squeeze the boards together with even pressure, making sure all pins enter the corresponding holes. 

    Test your inputs on Makey Max with the piano app, or open a document and see if pressing the remapped inputs works as the number 1 and 2.

    Wire up your clock and you are ready to get started coding!

    12 clips plugged into Makey Max and plugged onto the back of the paper clock.


    Coding in Scratch

    For this Scratch project, when the minute hand touches each interval, it will speak the minutes, time phrase, or a time phrase in another language. To do this, you need to add the Speech to Text and Translate extensions in Scratch.

      Then you can easily combine translate with "Text to Speech" to have a talking multilingual clock! 

      A Scratch translation reporter block being dragged into the Scratch speak block

      Sprite Costumes

      You'll want to create a clock sprite with multiple costumes that show the time based on the each key press. Make sure to label each costume with the time interval.
      Image of Scratch Sprite Costumes

      Create Backdrops

      Create backdrops for time phrases, minutes, and any language translations you want to code.
      Image of Scratch Backdrop screen
      Each backdrop will actually function as the logic that lets the program know which phrase to speak. 
      Once you have costumes and backdrops created, you are ready to code each key press. The easiest way to do this is to code the first key and then duplicate the program.
      To use this mode concept to play multiple phrases from one key press, you will nest if/else statements inside of each other. When you press the trigger key, the program will look to see which backdrop variable you are on and then play the sound accordingly.  (So if the backdrop number is equal to one, it will play the sound "00 minutes." However, if the backdrop number is equal to 3, it will translate "Top of the hour" to Spanish and speak the translation outloud.)
      You'll need to place a "backdrop number" reporting block into the operator block "blank = blank."

      We will nest these if/else statements to tell the project, "If the backdrop number equals a certain number" do this. Otherwise check to see what number the backdrop is on and do that command instead!
      Gif of scratch blocks
      Nest each "if/else" statement so that the code will read from the top to the bottom and look for the backdrop number variable that is showing in the project and then will "speak" accordingly.

       Here is the full code for one key press at "Zero Minutes or 12 o clock."

      Scratch code for up arrow. See table in guide for code blocks

      Repeat this process for each key press.

      Clock Face and Key Presses

      Simple clock:
      Up Arrow : 00 minutes / Top of the Hour
      Right Arrow : 15 minutes / 15 After
      Down Arrow : 30 minutes / Half past the hour
      Left Arrow : 45 minutes / Three quarters past / 15 till

      Makey Max 5 Minute Clock:

      Up Arrow : 00 minutes
      W key : 5 minutes
      A key : 10 minutes
      Right Arrow : 15 minutes
      S key : 20 minutes
      D key : 25 minutes
      Down Arrow : 30 minutes
      F key : 35 minutes
      G key : 40 minutes
      Left Arrow : 45 minutes
      Number 1 : 50 minutes
      Number 2 : 55 minutes

      Space bar will change the mode of the clock, hit space to hear different languages when you touch different parts of the clock. This is very easy to code! All you need is a "When Space key pressed" block and a "next backdrop" block connected. A very simple short program indeed!


      Image of Scratch blocks "When key pressed" and "next backdrop"


      Play with Time!

      After it's coded and wired up, you are ready to play with time! 

      Easy Clock with 15 minute intervals



      Time Investment
      1 hr
      2nd- 6th 


      • Makey Makey
      • Cardstock
      • Brass Fasteners
      • Alligator Clips
      • Makey Max Backpack (optional)


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