Resources: Physical Computing

Makey Makey, Arduino, micro:bit and other MDBs, and programming

Makey Makey

  • 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.
  • 20 Makey Makey Projects for the Evil Genius – Go beyond the banana with projects for beginning to advanced makers by Aaron and Colleen Graves. Instructions are easy-to-follow with detailed photographs.


Arduino books

Arduino Programming

  • 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.
  • S4A (Scratch for Arduino) – A version of Scratch intended for programming and controlling an Arduino microcontroller.
  • Snap4Arduino – Snap4Arduino is a modification of the Snap! visual programming language that lets you seamlessly interact with almost all versions of the Arduino board.
  • iForge Genesis – A free browser-based block language to program Arduinos. There is also an iOS app as well.
Arduino programming books


  • Micro:bit Foundation – A non-profit organization supporting the BBC micro:bit, a versatile microcontroller board. Resources for students, teachers, developers, and an online community.
  • Micro:bit Go kit – Get started with micro:bit for around $15 (US). You get a micro:bit, battery box, 2 AA batteries, and USB cable.
  • Micro:bit magazine – Free online magazine about the BBC micro:bit.
  • Getting Started with micro:bit – Online tutorial from Sparkfun for the BBC micro:bit.
  • 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.
  • Getting Started with the BBC Micro:Bit – This is one of the better introductory books for the BBC micro:bit.

Other MDBs

  • 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.
  • Adafruit Circuit Playground Express – A single board microcontroller with onboard sensors and LEDs. Supports multiple coding options including MakeCode, JavaScript, Python, and the Arduino IDE.
  • Getting Started with Adafruit Circuit Playground Express – An introduction to building projects and programming the Circuit Playground Express. The content on working with MakeCode is very good.

micro:bit and other MDB programming

  • 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.