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Creative Coding With Scratch and Micro:bit

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab



Melissa Unger  
Incorporate the micro:bit into exciting Scratch projects. In this hands-on session, learn how to create three Scratch projects that use the micro:bit to control your animation, collect data and draw! Leave with an understanding of how to use micro:bit and Scratch with your students!

Audience: Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators, Library media specialists
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Participants will need to be able to access scratch.mit.edu and have bluetooth enabled on their device.
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
Designer
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Objectives:
Participants will gain an understanding of the micro:bit and its role in physical computing.

Participants will discover ways to combine Scratch with the micro:bit in order to create interactive projects.

Participants will explore ways in which free/low-cost tools such as Scratch and the micro:bit increase equity and access to computer science and computational thinking resources for students.

Participants will engage in conversations regarding how to incorporate Scratch and the micro:bit with relevant classroom content.

Educational Situation/Challenge:
This session is ideal for participants looking to gain an introductory understanding of how to incorporate the use of the micro:bit with Scratch. Ideally, participants will be familiar with Scratch and looking for ways to "take it to the next level" for students.

Technology:
This session will focus on the latest version of Scratch (3.0) and it's ability to connect to the micro:bit both via usb and through bluetooth.

Model:
Participants will learn through a collaborative approach. Although time will be spent learning from the presenter, participants will engage in both small group collaboration as they complete a variety of "mini" projects using Scratch and micro:bit.

Lesson Plan Resources:
Participants will have access to a shared Google Drive folder, which will provide lesson materials, new ideas, and related articles to help support participants as they develop their own ideas for using Scratch and micro:bit.

Evidence of Success:
This session will be considered a success if audience members leave with a strong understanding of the learning potential provided by combining Scratch and micro:bit. Additionally, participants will feel more confident in their own coding abilities and their ability to share their knowledge with others.

Outline

Total time: 60 minutes

Session Introduction (5 minutes):
The presenter will introduce herself/context and will gauge the audience's understanding of both Scratch and the micro:bit by asking participants about their prior experiences.

micro:bit Overview (5 minutes):
The presenter will provide the audience with a quick overview of the micro:bit by showing a brief video of the micro:bit's uses and then highlighting important areas on the micro:bit itself.

Getting Started with Scratch (10 minutes)
The presenter will show the audience how to connect the micro:bit to Scratch using bluetooth. Participants will be provided a micro:bit to use during this session. Once connected, participants will be shown how to find the micro:bit code pieces on the Scratch platform and will experiment with multiple blocks.

Scratch with micro:bit Coding Card Challenge (30 minutes)
Participants will be placed into small groups (2-3 people, based on seating) and will be given three Scratch/micro:bit task cards. Participants will have three, 10-minute blocks of time to work with the others in their group to complete each of the tasks.
Each task will introduce participants to "big idea" topics that they can use Scratch and the micro:bit for together in their classrooms.
While participants are working, the presenter will circulate through the room to offer assistance and help participants troubleshoot any bugs in their code.

Wrap Up/Share Out (10 minutes)
At the end of the session, participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their experience and share what they were able to create. Dedicated time will be spent discussing how coding projects with Scratch and micro:bit could be added into the classroom and how to create projects that connect to the classroom curriculum.

**It will be most helpful if participants have access to a micro:bit during this session. If not, I will have participants create their code in a Scratch group and will then upload their code onto my micro:bit to show how it works on screen.

Supporting research

Unger, Melissa."Scratch with micro:bit Coding Cards." SanFrancisco: No Starch Press, 2020.

Wagner, Tony, and Robert A. Compton. Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. New York: Scribner, 2012.

Brennan, Karen. Creative Computing. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Creative Commons, 2012.

Murphy Paul, Annie. “The Coding Revolution.” Scientific American Aug. 2016:42-49. Online and Print.

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Presenters

Photo
Melissa Unger, South Fayette Township School District

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