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Scratch paint

Beginner | Scratch | Accelerometer, Buttons | Input/output, Selection, Sensors

Step 1: Make it

What is it?

Use your micro:bit to control a Scratch drawing program.

Scratch cat holding a pencil over a rainbow

How it works

  • This program uses the micro:bit’s accelerometer to guide the pencil sprite around the screen, drawing a line as it moves.
  • Tilting the micro:bit left or right makes the pen to move left or right in the X-axis, across the screen.
  • Tilting the micro:bit forwards and backwards makes the pen move up and down, in the Y-axis.
  • If you tilt it diagonally you get diagonal lines.
  • You can control the thickness of the pen lines with micro:bit’s A and B input buttons.
  • Shake it to use the micro:bit’s accelerometer input to raise and lower the pen, so you can move around without making a mark.
  • The program keeps track the pen’s status (whether it’s up or down) using a variable called penUp. It shows different icons on the micro:bit’s output display so you know if the pen is up or down.
sample drawing

What you need

  • micro:bit
  • suitable computer with Scratch link installed. See for details on how to get Scratch working with micro:bit.
  • optional battery pack

Step 2: Code it

Scratch code blocks for pencil sprite

Code blocks for pencil sprite

Step 3: Improve it

  • Add a way of controlling when the colour changes.
  • Modify the program so shaking or ‘jumping’ the micro:bit clears the screen.
  • Show the pen thickness on the micro:bit’s display.