Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom
Resources: Physical Computing
Makey Makey, Arduino, micro:bit and other MDBs, and programming
Makey Makey – An “invention kit for everyone,” Makey Makey should be a part of any tinkering classroom. Makey Makey creates a simple alligator-clip-based interface between the computer and everyday objects. It plugs into the USB port of any computer, even a Raspberry Pi, and turns household objects into a keyboard or joystick. The website has many projects, videos, lesson plans, and resources.
Arduino Project Handbooks – Each of these two volumes by Mark Geddes has a getting started guide, plus 25 projects for Arduino beginners. Projects include step by step instructions and well-chosen close up color photographs. The volumes cover different skills and components, so buy both!
Arduino IDE – The Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is downloadable software used to program Arduino boards.
Arduino Create – Online hub for Arduino projects, a cloud-based coding environment, and circuit design. You must still download and install a plug-in, but it means you always have the latest version. There is a subscription service available for schools to integrate it into Google Apps for Education.
BBC micro:bit Kitronik University – Extensive online tutorials, projects at all levels, and teaching resources for the BBC micro:bit. Kitronik is a UK-based vendor and also a partner in the development of teaching materials and expansion boards for the UK Design and Technology curriculum for Year 7 students.
Chibi Chip (Love to Code) – Love to Code is a microcontroller board packaged with a fun graphic book introducing coding and electronics. The system works with the Chibitronics circuit stickers, and can be programmed with a number of languages including MakeCode. It can also be programmed from your smartphone for ultimate flexibility.
Microsoft MakeCode – A free block-based programming language for a growing list of microcontrollers. MakeCode runs in the browser with a simulator showing your hardware device. The website has tutorials and project ideas.
MicroBlocks – A visual programming language that runs directly on various microcontrollers.
Micro Python – A version of Python can be used with the micro:bit.
art:bit – Program the micro:bit display from a Chromebook.
Micro:bit Programming Options – The micro:bit has a number of programming options including Scratch, App Inventor, and art:bit. This site has the complete list of options.
Arduino IDE for micro:bit – Follow this detailed tutorial from Adafruit to use the Arduino IDE to program the micro:bit. It’s a bit complicated (but not difficult) and you will be able to use the global library of Arduino sketches as a start for your micro:bit project.