Introduction

Up to this point, we have been primarily challenging students to collaborate while they create their own projects. This lesson, on communication using the micro:bit radio, is a great opportunity to have students work in pairs on a project. Have kids find a partner to work with for this lesson, and make sure they are seated next to each other.   Note: Many teachers find the concept of “pair programming” to be a valuable way to have students collaborate when programming. Two students share one computer, with one student at the keyboard acting as the driver, and the other student providing directions as the navigator. Students must practice good communication with each other throughout the entire programming process.

The micro:bit allows you to communicate with other micro:bits in the area using the blocks in the Radio category. You can send a number, a string (a word or series of characters) or a string/number combination in a radio packet. You can also give a micro:bit instructions on what to do when it receives a radio packet.

Watch this video to see how the radio hardware works on the micro:bit:

This lesson starts with a “plugged” unplugged activity, in which students use their micro:bits to explore an advanced simulation. The code is quite complex, so students will focus more on how to use the micro:bits to explore aspects of viruses and epidemics, than the intricacies of the code itself.   The project for this lesson will challenge students to work together to send and receive some sort of data to and from each other. There is a wide range of simple and complex projects kids can try, but whatever they choose it is a whole lot of fun to communicate with each other using the micro:bits!