Make scientific research history by taking part in the Big Food Survey

Written by: Cerys Griffiths, Executive producer at BBC Learning

Almost 800,000 BBC micro:bits have now been delivered to secondary schools across the UK and we know that already students are using them for some really exciting projects. And early research we’ve commissioned shows that when students start to use them it can have a really big impact on how they view computer science.

However we’re keen to ensure that this device works for teachers in a truly cross curricula way. Working with the Wellcome Trust as part of their Crunch project, and Lancaster University, we’ve devised the Big Food Survey.

It’s a project we hope will engage the students, help them become familiar with their micro:bits and work, not just for the computer science curriculum, but also other areas of STEM learning.

The Big Food Survey is the chance for your students to make scientific research history by taking part in a one-day survey about eating habits never before done in the UK.

The survey takes place during the week of 3 October 2016. Schools are being asked to pick one day that week for their students to record what they eat and where using their micro:bits as a data collector. The survey comes on a new hex file and also has an accompanying firmware update that we strongly encourage everyone to do anyway. The update enables micro:bits to store data beyond the life of the survey.

The survey itself is fun and easy to use, we’ve tested it extensively in schools, and the results will give a fascinating insight into the eating habits of students across the UK - Year 8 in England and Wales, S2 in Scotland and Year 9 in Northern Ireland.

The anonymised results data will be made available for all schools to use and to academics for research purposes. The survey will be accompanied by lesson plans covering STEM curriculum areas Working Scientifically, analysis and evaluation, and Nutrition and Digestion. And there will be easy step by step guides – all of this available on the micro:bit website.

The website isn’t just the home of the four code editors. It also has a very wide range of lessons plans and exciting, creative projects that can be used in the classroom in science, design and technology, music and mathematics, to make teaching the BBC micro:bit as part of the curriculum as easy as possible.

We very much hope you’ll take part in the survey and also find the time to explore the resources available on the website.

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