This unit provides important links between programming and external hardware through physical computing using the BBC micro:bit.

In the first half of the unit, students will learn about the components built into the micro:bit  and write simple programs that use these components to interact with the physical world. As they do this they will refresh their Python programming skills and encounter a range of programming patterns that arise frequently in physical computing applications.

In the second half, students will work in pairs to build a physical computing project. They will be required to select and design their project purposefully, apply what they have learnt by building a prototype, and keep a structured diary throughout the process.

The Year 8 and 9 programming units are prerequisites for this unit. It is assumed that learners are already able to write Python programs that use variables and data structures to keep track of information. They are also expected to be able to combine sequence, selection, iteration, and function/method calls to control the flow of program execution.



Physical Computing - Overview

This resource provides a unit overview for the Year 9 ‘Physical Computing' unit of work. It gives a clear overview of objectives to be covered within each session and a learning graph to show the range of skills being developed through this computing unit.


Lesson 1 - Hello Physical World

This introductory lesson is meant to get learners acquainted with the micro:bit.

They will explore its hardware components, so that they develop an awareness of its capabilities. They will also write and execute their first Python programs on the micro:bit, so that they familiarise themselves with the...

Lesson 2 - Bare Bones

Through the course of this lesson, learners will write programs that use the micro:bit’s 5⨉5 LED display for output and some of the built-in sensors for obtaining input. This simple ‘bare bones’ setup will allow them to focus on the code and the patterns that often arise in physical computing applications. At the...

Lesson 3 - Connections

This lesson provides learners with examples of using the micro:bit’s General-Purpose Input Output (GPIO) pins to connect it to external hardware components, such as switches, speakers, and LEDs. The ability to connect the micro:bit to additional components enhances the built-in capabilities for input and output,...


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