Getting started with the micro:bit board


What are we going to do?

In this activity you'll learn how to get started with the micro:bit board.

There're basically two options to start coding:

  • Micro:bit block programming

  • Python based editor

We suggest to start with blocks amd jump to python when you're more familiar with programming languages.

After finishing this activity, you'll be able to connect your board to your computer and code a basic program that turns some LEDS on and off.

Materials

micro:bit board

The micro:bit was designed to be classroom-friendly from day one. More approachable than just coding, it's a great way to achieve fun, practical results with motivated students. Buy from here starter kit (recommended) or board only.

micro USB cable

If your micro:bit board didn't came with a USB cable, any microUSB cable should do the trick

Computer

The code editor is web based, so any computer with a web browser (and Internet connectivity) will do

Let's get started

 

There is also an official Android/IOS app that you can find here

More info about microbit board and updated editors can be found at the official site

Instructions

1 Give it a name

Once you've opened the editor, pick a name for your first project. It should be something that easily identifies it. To create a program, you just have to select some blocks from the left side of your page and drag and drop them to your workspace.

Click to zoom

2 Code with blocks

From the list of possible blocks, go to basic and then click and drag "show leds" to your workspace. Now, mark the ones you want to be light up. You'll see the result on the left. If you're happy with the result, click on "Download".

Click to zoom

3 Upload to the board

When the program is ready and you click "Download", an HEX file will be downloaded to your computer (normally to your download folder). If download succeeded, a message will appear on your screen. Click "done".

Now, connect your micro:bit board to your computer using the micro USB cable. Your computer should now detect your micro:bit just as if it was an external drive. Search the HEX file you just downloaded and drag and drop them on your micro:bit drive. On windows you can right button on the HEX file and click send to MICROBIT.

Click to zoom

4 Final result

Your micro:bit board rear LED will start blinking during this process. When it's done, it will stop blinking and you should see the LED shape you created on the micro:bit LED-matrix.

Congratulations, you're on the right path to be a maker!, now think about something else to display and don't hesitate to try it! 🙂

Now it's your turn!

It was about time to let you try it for yourself! I now propose some challenges that I encourage you to do. I think they are fun and I trust you can pass them!

Remember that each time you change the program by adding or removing some blocks, you can see how it looks at the left side of the editor. When you're happy with the result, you'll have to download it again and send it to micro:bit board following same steps as before.

Here you have:

  • Show a symbol, an emoji or a personalized logo using the micro:bit leds.
  • Show a text, name or a sentence
  • Show numbers on the screen
  • Extra challenge, can you show a countdown from ten to one? 

If you managed to finish this activities, you can search for more challenges on micro:bit's website

What else?

Remember that you can use your BBC micro:bit for all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments – the possibilities are endless. This little device has an awful lot of features, like 25 red LED lights that can flash messages. There are two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. Your BBC micro:bit can detect motion and tell you which direction you’re heading in, and it can use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the Internet – clever!

Continue your maker journey with the next activity: Get to know the micro:bit!

or return to maker workshop main page