The micro:bit is a great way to teach the basics of programming and computer science. The Microsoft MakeCode block-based coding environment is a powerful and intuitive way to make the micro:bit react to all sorts of input, and you can introduce fundamental concepts such as iteration, conditional statements, and variables using MakeCode.

Students often focus primarily on the 5x5 LED screen for providing output. Although this is the most directly accessible way to see a reaction to some kind of input, there are many more creative possibilities when you encourage your students to see the micro:bit as a “brain” that can control physical, tangible creations.

These creations don’t have to be complex or highly technical. It’s great to have students building with common household supplies. Because the micro:bit is so lightweight, and supports so many sensors, it can be incorporated easily into a physical design as long as students plan ahead for its size and weight. One of the first questions you might ask students is “Where does the micro:bit fit in your creation?”

In this first lesson’s project, we focus on making something creative that features the micro:bit as its “face”. We purposely start this course with a lesson on Making and the physical nature of the micro:bit, because it is important to set the tone for the whole course that this is a class about making, building, crafting and construction. It helps if you have an art room available where kids can work, or arts and crafts supplies in your classroom that kids can use to build.

Some common making supplies to gather:

  • pizza boxes
  • scrap cardboard
  • colored construction paper
  • colored duct tape
  • scissors
  • pipe cleaners
  • stickers
  • feathers
  • string
  • markers

Maker materials