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Title graphic showing electronics

In this class, for beginning and experienced programmers and “digital makers”, you’ll create several fun projects combining coding with wiring up buttons, sensors and motors, while strengthening your programming skills, and being exposed to the big ideas of computer science.

Free Learning Time Activities


We’ll work with several tiny computers and microcontrollers.

The micro:bit is an amazing tool that packs features such as a 5x5 LED display, Bluetooth connectivity, multiple sensors, and easy programmability into a small, portable package, making it perfect for a variety of educational and creative projects.


The Circuit Playground Express includes many sensors and lights, and consumes less power.

Circuit Playground Express photo


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The micro:bit

Today we’ll start using the micro:bit. They have a lot of features, including:

  • LEDs
  • sound
  • sensors (light, heat, acceleration, etc.)
  • motor control ability

Breakout Boards

A breakout board makes it easier to connect a device such as the micro:bit to other components. It is easier to connect a servo motor to the micro:bit because the breakout board has headers, pins that connect directly to the servo’s female connectors.

Bit Board Basic

Trying Out the micro:bit

Use the USB cable in the kit to connect the micro:bit to your computer. Be gentle. The micro:bit should power up and then engage you for a few minutes in an interesting way that shows some of its features.

Connect to the Breakout Board

Gently insert the micro:bit into the connector on the breakout board.

Connect the Servo

Servo connection

Make a Program

We’ll use MakeCode.

Download Directly to the micro:bit (No Drag and Drop Needed)

This requires Chrome or Edge. Click on the gear icon and choose Connect device. Once connected, push Download and that’s all that’s needed.

Battery Pack

You can disconnect the micro:bit from the computer once you have it programmed, and instead power it from a battery pack. Connect the battery pack as shown here (red to +, black to -). When disconnecting, don’t pull the wires. Pull on the plastic piece instead.

Power connection

Play Time

Play with the servo, the LEDs, sound, the accelerometer, whatever you like! Make something.

Radio Communication

This is one of Mr. Briccetti’s favorite features. These devices can communicate with each other using radio transmissions. If we have time we’ll play with it.

Explore Tutorials and Play


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Circuit Playground Express

Circuit Playground Express

MakeCode for Circuit Playground Express


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Light-Emitting Diodes

Connecting directly to small battery

Controlling via micro:bit or Circuit Playground Express with alligator cables


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Challenges for the Circuit Playground Express and micro:bit

Circuit Playground Express
  1. Turn #7 green

  2. When the program starts, all lights are off. When the user pushes the A button, the light at 3 o’clock turns yellow, but only for 3 seconds, then it turns off.

  3. On button B long click, all lights turn pink for 3 seconds then green, then after 4 seconds, purple for 3 seconds, then #7 turns blue.

  4. On a tilt to the right, play a short bit of music, then an animation for 2 seconds

  1. Person 1 sends either ‘hi’ or ‘hello’. Person 2 receives a message. If it’s ‘hi’, she replies ‘hello’. If it’s ‘hello’, she replies ‘hi’.


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micro:bit project: tilt an image

Tilt an image

micro:bit Reaction Time Game

Reaction Time Game


Two guest students are here. Hot wheels cars and track. Using gates with servo motors.


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More on the micro:bit radio feature and on controlling gates with it


Blockly Games

Let’s warm up with Blockly Games.

micro:bit and/or Circuit Playground Express projects