First lesson

I can some up this lesson with one word – Excitement! The excitement was mine (to begin with) but then it spread to the year 7 pupils, once I told them they would each get their own Micro:bit.

I’m sure I must have shown this class the ‘micro:bit introduction’ video before, but now it has taken on a new significance…now they had a physical micro:bit in front of them, flashing away.
My own experience has been similar – I have looked at the micro:bit website before but not really engaged with it in the way that I have done since having the physical device.

I am conscious that our departments method of delivering lessons has been altered from my initial plans. I originally wanted to introduce the concepts of sequence, selection, iteration before ‘coding’ – With the device in front of the class, they just wanted to see it do something. Our delivery method, for now, is to introduce the website, write simple programs using the block editor and then look at where sequence, selection & iteration fit in. I will evaluate the success of this approach in the coming weeks.

Following on from the lesson my HOD commented on how many different ways a pupil can confirm that the device will belong to them…

  • “Is it ours?”
  • “Can I take it home?”
  • “So it’s mine?”
  • “We get to keep it?”
  • “Can I use it at home?”

I was asked a question that is one of the key issues relating to this device…

“What if I lose it?”

From my experience with holding the actual device and using it, I feel the pupils will definitely get much more out of the micro:bit by having the physical device, than using the on-screen simulator. I worry that the pupils who ‘lose’ the device are the ones who will lose interest…hopefully this won’t become an issue.

Safe Cracker

Original number game – https://www.microbit.co.uk/nrjdzu
Improved game – https://www.microbit.co.uk/joryiq
One of the first games I created with the micro:bit was a number guessing game. I wanted to use the built-in compass so that pupils didn’t need to purchase or utilise any additional equipment other than what would be given to them.

Game idea

Randomly generate a number using button A. Guess the number by pointing in a direction and pressing button B. The number will be between 0 and 359.

I originally started using the block editor to make the game but I wanted to see the code. I realise that my pupils will not all want to see the code…they may be scared of the code. Continue reading Safe Cracker

Microbit first use

Wednesday 10th February.

I plugged in the supplied (rather short) USB cable. It was alive and after telling me to press the A and B buttons (It pointed at these to help me), my Micro:bit wanted me to chase the dot! Like a toddler chasing a feather dancing in the air, I waved my device about, chasing the dot and my micro:bit smiled at me! Now what?! I decided to use a longer cable!

Thursday 11th February

I spent time looking at the micro:bit website and familiarising myself with it. All the time thinking, how are my pupils going to explore this site? Which is best, Block Editor or Touch Develop? I wanted to get started straight away with a simple program so I thought of a simple number guessing game that required the built-in compass to guess the number. I refined this in to a different game so it was easier to play.

After school was my weekly code club – I demonstrated some of the features of my game to a pupil whilst, unbeknownst to me, another teacher was stood behind me (A Geography teacher!)

Geography teacher: “I like this…oh I like this!”

I showed the teacher how easy it was to write a new program to just give compass bearings. He liked that too. He pointed north and I showed him that he was correct (Micro:bit said 0) I them pointed south and Micro:bit said 180…perfect.

This coincidental demonstration reinforced the belief I have that this can be a truly cross-curricular device, that can be used across the school in any subject. My journey in to how will be detailed in this blog.