For the last 2 weeks I’ve been running a little Microbit project with my year 5 kids. It’s the first time they’ve used the Microbit and they’ve been really enjoying it, so I thought I’d give this project a little share! I sent out a few tweets too which were pretty popular, thought a full blog post might be a good idea!
In pairs, I had the pupils creating little paper robot heads s a way of bringing their coding to life. I spent a little bit of time creating an accurate template for them that fits the Microbit exactly, and drew a robot head that fits around it. The two holes where the microbit buttons go make perfect looking eyes, and the screen in the middle. Pro tip! If you leave the paper over the LEDs it makes a great diffuser for when you want to picture your kids work! However, remove it if the code you’re playing with uses the light sensor as it will block the light from getting to the light sensors in the LEDs.
I gave the kids a few coding challenges to create a little robot character. To start off with it was simple things like programming a mouth shape out of the LEDs. For this we used a little animation using loops. Looks super cute and made for a great intro activity. The ones who got it straight away were able to develop this idea instantly, and created other animations fairly quickly. Meanwhile the children who struggled were able to take their time, and get it perfected with a little help from myself.
We then moved on to do some more interesting pieces of programming to get the robot performing! Nothing too fancy, remember this was the first time they had used the hardware! We got the Microbit to display the temperature when you pressed the B button, and got it to display it’s name when you pressed A.
We then had a great chat about what we meant by input and output, and thought about the other inputs we could use on the microbit. This lead to the kids doing different animations for the face when you turned the microbit upside down or dropped it! Lots of shocked looking faces at this point! By the end of the 2 lessons the students had developed their own little character out of this robot paper. Each one was decorated differently, and did a number of different things depending on how you interacted with it. One group even had a go at hacking the headphones to add robot sound effects! Beep Boop!
I think the beauty of an activity like this is in it’s simplicity. It’s just a small piece of paper, but it can lead to loads of different tasks and challenges for the pupils. It gives the kids lots of scope to be creative in their learning, and challenge themselves independently.
If you click the link here it will take you to a Google Drive that has all the files you need to get started with this. It has a paper copy of the robot head as well as STL files so you can 3D print the face too! I hope some of you have a go, tag me on Twitter if you do!