Students preparing at the libraryA bright sunny day in Renton, WA. A beautiful library sitting over a river. What better way to spend the day than conducting a microbit camp?

People soon started to trickle in and sat down, watching the projector. They encompass all ages, from elementary school, to college freshmen. The room was packed to the brim, with even more people dropping in.

A mix of comments fly through the air. Some are excited, wondering what the different things on the tables are. “What are these?” “Do they light up?” but others were more confused. “Why do I have to be here?”  and “What are we going to do?”

 

 

Then the presentation started. Explaining everything from variables to the concepts of loops, everyone started to get more and more interested as we introduced more activities. We started simple, creating a rock-paper scissors game that changed the icon when the microbit was shaken. Using a loop, random numbers, and conditional statements. Students made their own games and modified them with different icons. And then came the tournament. Using their microbits, students battled each other and competed, with the loser joining a train that continued to cheer for the winner. The tournament culminated in two large groups, each cheering for their current champion.

 

Soon after, the students acquainted themselves with the different parts of the microbits. With the 25 LEDs on the back, the A and B buttons, and the radio feature of the microbit, students created custom messages and used the radio feature to send messages to each other. From “Hi!” to “Yeet!”, the students had a lot of fun creating and sending different messages to each other based on the things they did with their microbits.

And then came the hardware. Staring with an LED, and ending with a piezo buzzer, students in groups of four each found themselves with a microbit, a breadboard, and various hardware parts. They first connected an LED to the microbit, and made it light up based on the buttons clicked. The next project was using a photoresistor.

workshop students playing rock paper scissors

After connecting their photoresistor to the microbit, and understanding all the connections on the breadboards, the students used the knowledge that they had learned to display different icons on the LEDs based on the levels of light detected. Students also came up with different applications that this new device could be used for, like in turning on streetlights or knowing if it is dark outside as an indicator for when to go to bed.

As mentioned by most students, the most fun part of the evening was creating their own music. Connecting the microbits to a speaker on the breadboard, the students learned how to use the music tab, and created their own melodies using the notes. They quickly created their own pieces, changing the pitch, volume and tempo of the pieces based on the actions performed on the microbit. Once all the students came up with their pieces, they created a symphony where all the students played their pieces at the same time, creating an enjoyable cacophony of sound: the perfect way to end the day.