Okay so confession time. I am not the most clued up about coding or how to teach it to the kids. It is one area that I know we need to work on. But we recently discovered something called the BBC Micro:bit and we are loving it (and when I say “we” I mean both the kids and myself – yes I admit I have been playing around with it).
The micro:bit is a mini-computer which the kids can program to do different activities (very simple quick explanation). We received the starter kit which consists of 1 micro:bit, a battery pack, a USB cord and 2 batteries. You can connect the micro:bit directly to your battery pack or who can connect it to your computer (we used our computer). And once connected you can get going.
We started by logging onto the Micro:bit website, we selected the Make Code Editor (you can also chose Python as an option) and just jumped right in. The tutorials are great for getting the kids started and both of mine quickly started to adjust the suggested activities into projects of their own (like 5 minutes after starting).
The first project is the flashing heart which is creating 1 image that flashed one and off. My kids did it once and then were off creating long sequences of different pictures. They even realised they could create a sequence where a simple picture grew in size and then reduced back down to the starting image. It was great watching them go from not knowing much to having all sorts of ideas within minutes.
The entire set up is brilliant. The fact that you just “plug” the micro:bit into a computer and look on a website and you are set. It is easy to get going, easy to find more and more ideas on how to use the micro:bit and easy to spend ages being creative while learning about coding.
On the first day both of mine spent ages working through different project ideas and they have gone back every day since then and worked on more projects. It is already proving to be a great success in our strange summer that we are having.
And I must admit the kids and I are already eyeing out some of the add-ons that you can buy (the only problem is deciding which one to actually get). We have our eye on the Inventor’s Kit, The Electronics Kit and of course there are a bunch of different cars which my son keeps “reminding” me about.
Here is the link for the starter kit that we are using – microbit starter kit
Oh and I spotted that Twinkl have 6 different lessons on using the Micro:bit on their site.
Admin Bit – we were given our micro:bit. All opinions expressed are mine.