MICRO:BIT IN SECONDARY COMPUTING – 2 day bursary course – 23-24 May 2018

This is the overview for the 2 day course “Micro:bit in secondary computing CY224(apply inc Enthuse bursary via the STEM site, essentially making it free apart from cover) that I will be leading with Pete Dring and Simon Johnson.   We believe that your existing Microbits (worth upwards to £2k in each school) have huge potential to enhance your KS3 curriculum either for free or for very little extra cost.  I really rated Alan O’Donohoe and Mark Clarkson’s Python Boot camp and I intend to include similar ideas for teaching methods and ideas that you can take straight back and use in your classroom with your students.  This is the rubric with additional pictures and comments to explain what we are planning:

“Transform your KS3 computing curriculum to make programming interesting and exciting for all students, smoothing the transition from blocks to text-based languages.

During the first day you will use Python to programme the micro:bit, from the basics through to making music, transmitting morse code using radio and, finally, a Bit:Bot robot challenge.

The second day will extend your understanding of using the Micro:bit for physical computing and innovative robotics with blocks, JavaScript and Python.  You will be guided by experienced Master Teachers making extensive use of the micro:bit in schools. Teaching and classroom management methods will be modelled, and you will have time and help to tweak your own KS3 curriculum.  The CPD focuses on low- or no-cost projects based on the micro:bit.

You will:

  • Become confident programming the BBC Micro:bit with PXT blocks, Python and JavaScript
  • Understand how to support all learners using both blocks and Python for KS3 schemes of learning
  • Take-away many ideas for using the BBC Micro:bit for programming, including physical computing
  • Have experienced effective methods for teaching programming and managing kit in the classroom
  • Feel empowered to develop your KS3 curriculum, using the BBC Micro:bit to encourage greater uptake for KS4 computer science”

Day 1 – Developing your KS3 curriculum using BBC Micro:bits

1.1. Introduction
This will include what everyone is already doing or not doing with their BBC Micro:bits and a brief history of the Micro:bit.  

Ideas for easily managing class sets of micro:bits and equipment:

1.2 Basics
An introduction to images using PXT Blocks suitable for year 7s.  Then images using Python 3-ways – the microbit website, Mu, and Pete Dring’s simulator with discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each.

1.3 Intermediate Python activities
Starting with ring tones, delegates will learn to programme pop tunes. Then participants will learn to send morse code via the radio link.

1.4 Circus of Python activities
Including Bop-it and speech synthesis.

1.5 Next steps in your own curriculum

eg. different pathways using both blocks or Python:

1.6 Programming Bit:Bot Robots with PXT blocks

A chance to program a Bit:Bot Robot using PXT blocks to move, flash lights and beep, ending with a line-following challenge.

Day 2 – Physical Computing using BBC Micro:bits
2.1 Programming Bit:Bot Robots with Python
Same activities as yesterday evening but with Python. 

2.2 Discussion of Curriculum
Further discussion of curriculum opportunities, teaching methods, and supporting mastery.

eg.  Using a hybrid programming environment such as  TOSH (https://tosh.tjvr.org/app) to bridge between Scratch and Python:

2.3 Introduction to Physical Computing
Using block based code and basic inputs, participants will explore how to bring computational thinking and coding ‘to life’ through physical computing with the micro:bit. Delegates will use what they have learned to create some simple games such as a ‘Love Meter’ and ‘Magic 8-ball’.

2.4 More complicated blocks
In this hands-on session, we will control a servo operated micro:bit powered buggy called the :MOVE mini buggy. Delegates will also learn how to make their code more efficient by using functions in both the block editor and JavaScript.

2.5 Robotics on a Budget
Create simple robots using servos and everyday materials such as cardboard, paper clips and drinking straws, with discussion around how to extend these ideas in school.

2.6 Circus of Physical Computing activities
During this session, delegates will build a moving head puppet with a servo and then to try out a variety of sensors (PIR motion sensors, light sensors, temp sensors etc.) and explore how these can be used in the classroom. Delegates can also use this time to modify/upgrade their cardboard robots using the sensors provided.