Viewing: Getting our Hands Dirty with the BBC micro:bit

Getting our Hands Dirty with the BBC micro:bit

By Amandine Eap

 

Earlier this year, the micro:bit was released by the BBC and their partners which included Microsoft. This pocket-sized code-able computer was released to over 1 million pupils in S1 or equivalent across the UK for free.

On Saturday 25th June 2016, a Popup Family CoderDojo was run in partnership with CodeClan within their Edinburgh headquarters.

The session involved over 35 people (20 young people and 15 adults) and was based around the micro:bit.

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A series of activities was developed which included extra challenges for those wanting to go the extra mile. This setup allowed for young people with different levels of programming knowledge to participate, from the novice to the advanced coder. This helped facilitate a wide age range as well. The participants were from 6 years old to 15 years old and included adults.

The session was kick-started by a small computing quiz in order to get some interactivity going between the attendees and took the form of an ice-breaker, introducing some new knowledge along the way.

The first activity was to build a pedometer and program it so that it would count steps and reset itself to 0 upon the press of a button. Everyone was asked to split into groups of 2 or 3 and get a set consisting of the micro:bit and a laptop to get started. With the help of both adults and mentors (or none at all), the pedometers were built and tried out, which involved some fervent running around the room by some of the young people!

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The second activity was building a ‘Frustration’ wire-loop game which involved a few new bits of equipment such as Play-Doh, wires and crocodile clips. Again, a few different levels of challenges were offered, which allowed for more brain power to be released.

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All the activities seemed to have been welcomed with a great deal of enthusiasm and all the feedback collected was very positive. It was great to see both adults and young people trying to come up with solutions and working together.

Another great session, which shows again how much interest there is from young people towards computing and science in general. Keep your eyes peeled on our events page, our facebook page and twitter for any similar upcoming Edinburgh events.

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We look forward to seeing more from the Edinburgh CoderDojo in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in checking out the micro:bit for yourself, Glasgow Science Centre and Digital Scotland are running a series of micro:bit workshops this summer!

The workshops are for adults accompanied by young people aged between 11 and 17.

Click here to register now.

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