Micro:bit animation is one of the most fun learning experiments for children. In fact, the micro:bit is a wonderful tool for young learners to use. Because it helps them learn some basic coding skills and to create awesome projects.
In our course, Lights & Beats with micro:bit, children in grades 2-3 learn how to control electronic components such as led light, speaker, and sensors while building fun games and interactive experiments. Our instructors incorporate the MakeCode micro:bit website, a free to use website that includes a simulation of a micro:bit, the device. So, your child can do everything in a simulator first to test out how the micro:bit works without buying the device.
Explore micro:bit animation in a few simple steps
Today we walk your child through a micro:bit project: a mood tracker. How would you like your child to be able to demonstrate his or her mood using the micro:bit’s LED grid? Wouldn’t that be cool?
1. Get to know the MakeCode free online interface
- Click on the purple “New Project” button to begin.
- Name your project “mood tracker”
Once you have clicked on the button it will bring you to your coding interface, as seen below.
The coding interface allows your child to create so many things! You can see your simulator on the left. Anything your child codes will be simulated onto this micro:bit. There are many different categories all organized by color, not unlike Scratch! This program is very easy; just drag, drop and snap.
What are LEDs?
The micro:bit is equipped with a 5 by 5 LED grid that allows you to create your own designs and images. What are LEDs? LED stands for Light Emitting Diode and they are used for: illumination, indication, and communication. You may have seen LEDs at home in light bulbs, on your remote control, and even on plugs to indicate it is getting power. It’ll be exciting to see what images your child will create for today's project.
2. Find the first coding blocks for your micro:bit animation
Let’s start coding your first micro:bit project.You will need to find the “on start” block, as displayed below.
This block is very important when coding the micro:bit. Our program will begin working when the micro:bit turns on, only if the coding blocks are placed inside this “on start” block.
3. Your first micro:bit animation: How are you feeling today?
Now, you will have to decide how you are feeling. You are going to choose a pre made LED icon.
- Under the category “basic” you will find the “show icon” block.
- Review the icons with your child, encouraging and discussing which one to choose the best reflects today’s mood.
3. After choosing an icon, snap it together with the “on start” block.
Now, we need to ask ourselves, “How can we make this icon blink on and off?” You will need a blank “show LED’s” block. You can find this in the category “basic”. Once you have found it, snap it under the show icon block. Now your micro:bit’s image should be blinking!
How are loops useful to your program?
There are two different types of loops that we could use in your program.
- repeat x times
The forever loop repeats infinitely and the “repeat x times” loop repeats a finite amount that we choose. We want to make our program repeat our first blinking icon two times and then add a second icon that will blink 3 times. So, we will be using the repeat x times loop. You can find this in the loops category.
4. Design your own icons
With the micro:bit your child can actually design and create unique LED Icons. If you click on the basic category drawer you will find the “show LEDs” block. Click on each individual square to design your own icon. Try adding it to your project or replacing the show icon block with your creation.
Plotting your own LED icons
The micro:bit is like a grid that has its own plotting points (x,y). X runs from left to right and Y runs from the top to the bottom. You can find the plotting block in the LED category. You can combine multiple plot blocks to create your own pictures. Try adding one to your project!
Challenges for your micro:bit animation
Congratulations! You have just finished your first micro:bit coding project. We hope you enjoyed learning about loops and LED’s. Now, try these fun challenges:
- Design and add more icons to your project
- Design your micro:bit to display 3 blinking images
- Design your micro:bit to interchange between 2 different images instead of blinking
- Plot the following, to see what image it shows
Join online STEM coding classes to make more micro:bit animations
We hope you had fun working on your first micro:bit project! Join our kids' coding classes to build more exciting and interactive coding projects. We offer two micro:bit Units:
- Lights & Beats with micro:bit - Unit 1: The first unit includes creating your own dance animations, firework shows, and a light level clock.
- Lights & Beats with micro:bit - Unit 2: The second unit includes creating a compass, a thermometer, a mind reader, a rock paper scissors game and so many more projects!