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App Lab Physical Computing lessons now feature the micro:bit

04 Apr 2023

The BBC micro:bit has now been integrated to’s App Lab to add the benefits of making to the classroom.

App Lab lessons’s App Lab is designed to empower middle and high school students in Grades 6-10 (ages 11-16) to create authentic, digital artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun.

Benefits to students

Students can now add physical micro:bit inputs and outputs to the apps they create on screen in the App Lab coding environment. The prototype apps they create model real technology familiar to their everyday experiences.

Projects start by using buttons on app screens to control the LED display on the micro:bit when creating electronic name badges and pets. Students progress by adding more physical micro:bit features to their apps, including sensors for temperature, light levels and movement. They can also use the micro:bit’s pins as inputs and outputs with simple electronics.

Each lesson begins with students making predictions about what a piece of code will do. They then build their skills through making incremental modifications to make the code more useful. They also have opportunities to practise what they have learned before taking an assessment challenge.

Throughout the course, students will progress their application and understanding of computing concepts such as variables, conditionals and functions, all through the context of combining physical computing with app design.

Teacher with student and laptop

Teacher support

Teachers are supported through clear rubrics and are given sample code their students should be working towards, whilst still allowing students the freedom to express themselves creatively with a selection of challenges with different levels of scaffolding.

This stand-alone physical computing course provides an engaging and accessible way for students to explore the intersection of computer science and the physical world, especially for young women. Research shows that exposure to BBC micro:bit devices increases confidence in young women and deepens conceptual understanding. We're excited to bring more physical computing options to our teachers.

Karim Meghji Chief Product Officer,

Micro:bit Educational Foundation’s Chief Technology and Product Officer (CTPO) says about the App Lab integration,

With the micro:bit AppLab integration we are able to open access to the benefits of micro:bit physical computing for Middle School students to follow in their CS studies. With this they can progress their knowledge of computing concepts while combining making with physical computing with app design.

Jonathan Austin, CTPO, Micro:bit Educational Foundation

The micro:bit with App Lab is free of charge and can be found here:

Creating Apps with Devices

More on the micro:bit with

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