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Code a Bit With Micro:bit & Play on the Circuit Playground Express

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster


Wednesday, December 2, 3:00–4:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Kristy Braaksma  
Sara Evans  

Experience coding with Micro:bit and Circuit Playground Express online simulators. Gain confidence in your own coding abilities and leave with ready-to-go, hands-on activities that will jump start coding in your classroom using Micro:bit and Circuit Playground Express.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Global Collaborator
  • Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.
Computational Thinker
  • Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The Code a bit with Micro:bit & play on the Circuit Playground Express creation lab is relevant to educational technology and the ISTE audience because it allows participants to have a hands-on experience coding with two amazing tools that can be implemented into their own classrooms. Both the Micro:bit and Circuit Playground Express are exposed boards used to give students an experience coding while understanding more about the key functions of the boards. A few key coding concepts and functions participants will experience are coding with algorithms, sequences, and loops along with using the accelerometer to measure movement, the radio/bluetooth function, as well as using the pins and edge connectors to add accessories, such as motors and speakers. Research supports coding as an incredible way to build computational thinking within students and offer support to mathematical and computer science foundations. We want to empower students to create code and build new things, not to just be consumers.

Participants will gain confidence in their own coding abilities and leave with ready-to-go, hands-on activities that are able to jump start coding in their classrooms using both the Micro:bit and Circuit Playground Express. Researchers and educators alike will agree that there is a significant impact on a student’s ability to problem solve and think critically when they are given opportunities to engage in learning that requires computational and spatial thinking. Critical thinkers apply higher-order cognitive skills that are critical to communication, collaboration, cogitation, and creative problem solving.

The presenters, Kristy and Sara, bring a wide range of knowledge and experiences to their presentation that will highly value the time and commitment of every participant. With nearly 40 years of educational experience from Title One and autistic-inclusive programs to gifted and talented students, Kristy and Sara bring a diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning opportunity for all students and ISTE participants. Their lessons presented will be of high value and easily duplicated in classrooms all over the world.

As a result of attending this creation lab, participants will know and be able to: actively write computer code and build new things, effectively create and download code to the Micro:bit, effectively create and download code to the Circuit Playground Express, and readily implement coding basics into his/her classroom.

Infrastructure challenge: No access to an actual Micro:bit or Circuit Playground Express, no problem. Your simple and free solution is to use Microsoft’s MakeCode.com, which provides a virtual simulator of the Micro:bit and Circuit Playground Express. Each online interaction provides the end user a simulated experience with the Micro:bit or Circuit Playground Express. This is not only beneficial to use as an introductory activity for all students, but comes in handy when the actual devices are not available.

Technology Intervention: For those that may be novices to coding or need extra support, Microsoft’s MakeCode.com offers step-by-step easy to follow tutorials using blockly code with the Micro:bit and Circuit Playground Express simulators. For those that may be more advanced coders, students will have access to coding with JavaScript within the same simulator. That’s the beauty of using Microsoft’s MakeCode and its diversity to meet the needs of any learner.

Outline

Presenter introductions and overview of the workshop (3 minutes; Large group presentation)

Coding with Cards Challenge: (participants will be given an electronic set of cards, if needed)
Each participant will create an algorithm that will allow the cards to be organized in order from ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The only rule to follow is that the top card on the pile will be flipped upright and laid on the table, then the next card will be put on the bottom of the pile. This pattern will continue until all the cards are laid upright on the table. The presenters will facilitate a discussion with the participants to secure their understanding of and algorithm and sequence. (10 minutes; whole group discussion)

Micro:bit Introduction & Activity:
The participants will explore the many features of the Micro:bit and discuss how safety is first priority when working with exposed boards. (6 minutes; Large group discussion)

Microsoft MakeCode hands-on coding experience:
Using the Micro:bit virtual simulator, participants will transform the Micro:bit into a dice and play a quick game to get to know the presenters. (10 minutes; Hands on coding experience with the Micro:bit)

Circuit Playground Express Introduction & Activity:
First, we will make comparisons between the Micro:bit and Circuit Playground Express. Then, the participants will explore the many features of the Circuit Playground Express. (6 minutes; Large group discussion)

Microsoft MakeCode for another hands-on coding experience: Transform the Circuit Playground Express into a button flipper and play a coin toss game. (10 minutes; hands-on coding experience with the Circuit Playground Express)

Dive Deeper into the Micro:bit or Circuit Playground Express:
If participants want to dive deeper into the Micro:bit, they will explore how to create the Reaction Time game with students. One presenter will facilitate the Micro:bit hands-on learning experience.
If participants want to dive deeper into the Circuit playground Express, they will explore how to create the Lucky Wheel, a random number generator with a partner. One presenter will facilitate the Circuit Playground Express hands-on learning experience. (40 minutes; Virtual hands-on learning experience to build a game for either the Micro:bit or the Circuit Playground express)

Conclusion:
Presenters will share additional resources (Micro:bit Curriculum Resources and Circuit Playground Express Curriculum Resources) and then open the session for questions. (5 minutes; Large group discussion)

Supporting research

ISTE Book: No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum by Heidi Williams
ISTE Book: Creative Coding: Lessons and Strategies to Integrate Computer Science Across the Curriculum by Josh Caldwell
Article: Micro:bit benefits students
Article: Coding in the curriculum: Fad or foundational?
Article: Coding in Education: Why it’s important & How it’s Being Implemented
Article: Computer Science for All (Starting in Kindergarten)
Website: 2018 State of Computer Science Education
Website: The Future of Coding in Schools

More [+]

Presenters

Photo
Kristy Braaksma, Knox Gifted Academy (Chandler Unified Sc
Photo
Sara Evans, Chandler Unified School District

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