Introducing MicroBits for Independent Learning

Over the half term holidays I was really lucky, and 20 new MicroBits arrived on my desk. A fantastic tool to use with the children, and something I’ve tinkered with a little bit over the last few years, but not something I’ve tried whole class. I don’t want to try and steal the thunder from secondary teachers when my pupils move up, but down in primary we can get some much from these devices!

After introducing them to the year 5 pupils we got started with the simplest activity I could think of. An instant win for the pupils to get them on board. We started by getting the MicroBit to read their names and the schools name across the LED matrix.

1

They devoured this activity in seconds, and I had blinking LEDs across the room, with pupils shouting ‘What’s next?!’ at me!

Rather than walk them through step by step on each little activity I had planned,  I wanted them to get going independently. I’d planned three different tasks that were all fairly simple, so put all three on the board at the same time for them to get going with. They were the code for making a Rock/Paper/Scissors game, a shake thermometer, and a dice emulator. (Click on the links below to enlarge).

Having 20 MicroBits means that I don’t have enough for one each in the room, so we have to do paired coding. This works really well, and they probably get more out of it doing it this way. It’d tried to make them varying in difficulty slightly to set them more of a challenge to get through them all. The thermometer task was a little trickier as the kids had to create a variable. The room was buzzing as they all worked away on the activities, and were all enthusiastic and engaged about using the MicroBits. It was great for me to sit back and watch them go too. With very little instruction they were able to get stuck in and achieve in the lesson.

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Over the next few weeks I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do next with them. I’ll be spending my weekends googling some activities to see how creative we can be. Some of you might know I’m a bit obsessed with Kodu, so I’m really looking forward to using it with that. Watch this space!

 

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