What is a micro:bit?
Put simply, a micro:bit is a tiny programmable computer with lots of toys built-in.
It’s durable, about half the size of a credit card, and features the following built-in components:
Radio and Bluetooth antenna
2 programmable buttons
Originally created by the BBC, the micro:bit serves as a platform to teach kids 21st century skills like programming and engineering.
The BBC’s introduction to the micro:bit video sums up its capabilities quite well:
Every micro:bit project involves programming. For example, you might use a micro:bit to build a car that can avoid obstacles. You would write a program that reads data from a proximity sensor and turns the axle to avoid the obstacle.
Blocks are great for beginner programmers and younger students, but are harder to use for more advanced logic. MakeCode features a live micro:bit simulator that allows users to test run their code and troubleshoot right in the browser.
Integration to the Science Curriculum
As a science teacher, I aim to fully integrate educational technology tools into my curriculum so that learning is meaningful and relevant for my students. With its plethora of capabilities, ease of use, and durability the micro:bit is a great tool in the science laboratory. You can use the micro:bit to automate experiments or build sensors. With automation, students are able to focus on fine-tuning laboratory skills such as making a standard solution, plating their bacterial colonies, or analyzing their data.
These technological skills are invaluable in university and beyond if students choose to pursue a science career. Of course, learning how to program is also valuable in and of itself.
I hope you get a general idea of what the micro:bit is and how powerful it is for students. Click here for a working list of science projects that I have developed using the micro:bit.