Welcome to PLIX Scratch+micro:bit! Combine storytelling, coding, and making and bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. It's an excellent starting point for patrons to begin tinkering with hardware and software, and you can explore almost any topic using these two tools together.
Activity at a Glance
This activity works well as either a structured workshop or a drop-in activity.
- Age Range: 8+ years old
- Group Size: 5–8 participants
- Number of Facilitators: 1–2
- Activity Length: 1.5 hours for a structured workshop
- Cost: $49–$57 for 8 patrons (initial cost; micro:bits are reusable workshop-to-workshop)
- Prep Time: 1–1.5 hours to configure micro:bits, make examples, fold zines, and set up supplies
Share the love: Tell us how you use this activity guide on the PLIX Forum. or via our PLIX Remix report form. Remember, our guide is just a jumping off point — feel free change or create new design elements to suit your local community!
The Sensing with Scratch+micro:bit zine provides an overview of the Scratch programming language and the programmable micro:bit computer. It includes inspiration for how you might use these tools to create projects that bridge the physical and digital worlds!
Download here →
A note about zines: Our PLIX zines are designed to be supplementary resources for patrons and librarians to refer to during workshops. They're a quick and easy way for people to learn some fundamentals. You can print them on 8.5x11" paper, and they're easy to assemble. Here’s a resource that shows you step-by-step how to cut and fold them after printing!
Scratch Coding Cards
Scratch Coding Cards are designed to give learners a tangible way to get started creating projects with Scratch. You can download a free PDF of these cards or purchase a set. You can also learn more about using these cards in your programs.
In addition, the Scratch Team has created a new set of Micro:bit Scratch Coding Cards specifically for use with micro:bits. You can download a free PDF of these cards from the Scratch website. Be sure to check out the Scratch Team's additional learning resources for use with micro:bits > scratch.mit.edu/microbit.
If you do print your own cards, we recommend printing two cards per page horizontally (landscape). See below for sample print settings →
The Scratch+micro:bit activity supplies can be used with a wide variety of workshop prompts. Below you'll find a few that we love 💕— and we encourage you to come up with your own!
Finish the Story — As a group, read the beginning of a book to set up the character and story. Then, work in small teams to create an ending to the story with Scratch and micro:bit! Examples: Have the character tell a secret message on the micro:bit display; tell different endings depending on which way the micro:bit tilts; end The Very Hungry Caterpillar when the butterfly flies away.
What's Your Superpower? — Make something with Scratch+micro:bit that shows off your personal superpower. Examples: A wristband that grows a Scratch plant when you shake it (good at growing plants!); a hat that controls a Scratch memory game (good at remembering things!)
Enchanted Garden — Create an interactive garden with Scratch+micro:bit. Examples: A flower that blooms when you press the "A" or "B" button; a bee that buzzes when you shake the micro:bit.
Invent a New Musical Instrument — Supplement this activity with materials like cardboard, aluminum foil, rubber bands, boxes, and cans to invent new musical instruments and create your own sounds.
Making Example Projects
When preparing to facilitate a creative learning activity, we always recommend populating your space with diverse example projects. A good example project is thoughtfully designed to inspire your patrons, spark their curiosity, and be easy enough to understand to support them in getting started with the activity.
Check out the guide below for step-by-step instructions for making your own Scratch+micro:bit kit examples!
Learn more about the art of the example in our PLIX Guide to Making Activity Examples.
This activity is designed to invite learners of all backgrounds into tinkering with coding and electronics. By combining Scratch with micro:bit, participants are encouraged to tinker both on-screen and off-screen, while inventing new ways for these two worlds to interact. When facilitating this activity, we encourage you to support this tinkering mindset!
Facilitation Techniques to try with Scratch+micro:bit →
Be sure to also check out our PLIX Facilitation Techniques Guide for additional techniques from the PLIX team to help you cultivate your own creative learning facilitation practice.
Scratch+micro:bit in Action
Check out these Scratch+micro:bit shares and remixes from PLIX community members, and add your own on the PLIX Discussion forum!
Making Musical Instruments with contributions by Melissa Sprenne (Richland Library Ballentine), Dave Fink (Michigan City Public Library), and the PLIX Team!
Scratch Sensing without a micro:bit: When micro:bits are in short supply, you have a few other options for connecting the physical and digital worlds!
What We ❤️ About This activity
- Bridging the physical and digital worlds. By combining Scratch with micro:bits, participants are encouraged to tinker both on-screen and off-screen, while inventing new ways for these two worlds to interact.
- Offers a playful approach to learning about electronics. With workshop prompts that encourage storytelling and invention, this activity is designed to invite learners of all backgrounds into tinkering with coding and electronics.
- Collaborative opportunities. This activity works great for small groups of 2-3 participants working together to make a project!
- Endless possibilities. The materials for this activity can be used over and over again to support creative workshops that explore storytelling, enchanted objects, motion, sensing, and more!
About PLIX Scratch+micro:bit
The PLIX Scratch+micro:bit activity was inspired by the work of one of our PLIX residency exchange teams. In 2018, Media Lab graduate student Kreg Hanning worked with Jordan Morris and Cecil Decker—two librarians from Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina—to create activities that introduced physical electronics as a medium for creative expression.
Other ways to engage with PLIX Scratch+micro:bit →
- Read more about how the PLIX team thinks about designing creative learning activities ✨
- Share your experience running programs with this kit on the PLIX Discussion Forum or on social media using #PLIXScratchMicrobit 😎
The Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX) is a project of the MIT Media Lab Digital Learning & Collaboration Studio. Except where otherwise noted, all materials on this site are licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Accessibility.