Welcome to PLIX Scratch+micro:bit! Combine storytelling, coding, and making and bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds.
🥰 Ages 8+ 🕐 1.5–2 Hours 👩👧👦 up to 8 Participants 🍎 1–2 Facilitators 🎨 Craft Materials 📟 Micro:bit 🐱 Scratch Coding 💻 Computer
This activity is 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.
Workshop Prompts & Gallery
Prompts from PLIX
PLIX Community Remixes
Playtest and Plan
Remember: There’s no one right way to prepare for a workshop. Use these steps as a loose guideline for planning to run this activity.
- Choose one of our prompts, or come up with a prompt that suits your library community. Our activity guides are for getting you started—feel free to change or create new design elements to suit your local community! All PLIX activity guides are designed for a minimum of 1–2 facilitators
- Gather materials and print out the zine.
- Make an example project. Try it out with friends and colleagues. Thoughtfully incomplete, good examples feature a variety of approaches and starting points. Use them to inspire learners to make something uniquely their own.
- Try the activity with your patrons. Set a date and time. Easily promote your workshop with our ready-made graphics → COMING SOON!
- Populate your workshop space with diverse example projects. Create and play together!
- Reflect on what you’ve done and consider doing a remix!
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.
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! In addition, check out our general PLIX Facilitation Techniques →
Ask patrons to turn and share their code and micro:bit setup with their neighbors before you get involved. Point patrons to the online Scratch project gallery for ideas, where they can do a search on "microbit". Afterwards, be sure they share their creations with others online!
Have at least one good example projects with easy-to-understand code that offers many ways to riff off a theme.
Bridging the physical and digital is a messy proposition with many opportunities for mistakes. Celebrate the small victories in resilient troubleshooting, and that sometimes an idea is bigger than can happen in the time you have to work together.
We’re all used to pretty sophisticated games that have really complicated interactions with users. While Scratch has high ceilings, it does have its limitations. Often new programmers will start out with an ambitious plan, but many are just as happy to make something that contains some element of their vision.
Let patrons figure out the tools. It’s really tempting to grab the mouse and drag the right blocks into place to accomplish a patron’s vision. However, the Scratch environment was designed to be accessible to novice users. Ask questions that will help your patrons find the right answers, without directly giving them the code. One reason to avoid sharing your own ideas is that there are many ways to get at the same result, and your way may not match their mental model. If the issue seems to be happening in the physical world with the micro:bit, guide patrons in troubleshooting their own technical issues.
Both Scratch and micro:bit were painstakingly designed to make more accessible whole domains of making that had much higher barriers to entry before these platforms came along. They have low floors, high ceilings, and wide walls. Nonetheless, you may have patrons who want to dive deeper into programming and microprocessors / sensors, and you'll want to open the metaphorical door in this big room. Have books on hand related to next steps: we recommend the No Starch Press books for different programming languages, and Getting Started with Arduino for those wanting a more extensible / powerful microprocessor.
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