This activity pairs two of our favorite STEAM learning tools: Scratch & micro:bit! We love the combination of storytelling and making that emerge from this activity. The materials kit for this activity contains micro:bit Go’s, Scratch Coding Cards, alligator test leads, copies of our Scratch+micro:bit zine for patrons, workshop prompt ideas, and a copy of our PLIX Facilitation Techniques guide. If you’re using this activity, you’ll also need access to a few laptops or Chromebooks (plus Bluetooth), and we encourage you to get a collection of dollar store objects (or other items you have lying around!) The detailed materials list and downloadable resources for this activity are all available on our PLIX Activity Repository.

The PLIX Scratch+micro:bit activity is 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.

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!

Workshop Prompt Inspiration

  • Finish the Story 📖🔮 — Read the beginning of a book to set up the character and story. Then, create an ending to the story with Scratch and micro:bit!
  • What's Your Superpower? 🦸🏽 💪 — Make something with Scratch and 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 and micro:bit. Examples: A flower that blooms when you touch it, a bee that buzzes when you shake it
  • Invent a New Musical Instrument 🎶👩‍🎤 — Supplement this activity with materials like cardboard, aluminum foil, rubber bands, boxes, and cans to invent new musical instruments.

Try it!

On our PLIX Activity Repository, you'll find the full list of materials for the Scratch+micro:bit activity, so you can run it in your library! All of our PLIX activities include a supplies list for getting started, example project ideas, and facilitation tips for librarians.

We think it’s important to share what we’re making so anyone can get started with creative STEAM learning. All of our PLIX learning materials are openly licensed (CC-BY-SA 4.0) and free to download.

Share your experience running programs with this activity on the PLIX Discussion Forum or on social media using #PLIXScratchMicrobit 👾