Making Music with Micro:Bits in Year 3

Over the past few weeks Year 3 have been learning to code on our Micro:Bit computers.  These tiny devices are a great way to get hands-on with Computing and enable our students to write programs that they can run on real hardware in their hands.

To start with we explored the concept of Input and Output by using buttons, sensors and the LED displays on the Micro:Bits.  It was interesting to see the range of programs that could be created with just two buttons.

Once the children felt confident with this aspect of the device then took things a step further by using some LED light strips which connected to the pins at the bottom of the Micro:Bits.  

Suddenly the Mac Suite was transformed into a disco! We had colour changing, flashing and rainbow coloured lights everywhere.  

When we finished having a mini party we used the opportunity to learn about using loops and repeat blocks to create colour changing light patterns.

And that brings us on to today, where the children have been using the Micro:Bits in an entirely different way.  

By using three crocodile clips and some nifty external speaker modules, our Year 3s have been creating music!  From individual notes to complete melodies, the Mac Suite was the place to be on Monday morning if you wanted some music. 

(I must stress the word ‘music’ is used loosely here – it sounded less like Taylor Swift and more like an old fairground where the rides were breaking down and the normally happy music had started to sadly fade away into a sea of 8-bit beeps and bloops…)

As part of this activity the children embarked on some challenge based learning, where they were required to problem solve and troubleshoot both the code and the physical connection between the devices to get their music working.  This proved to be a lot of fun and certainly got their brains thinking!

We love using Computing in hands-on ways at Penpol – why should we be confined to a screen when we can have colour changing lights and music coming out of our Micro:Bits?!  

I dare say Year 3 would certainly agree.

Here are some more photos from our 'Musical Micro:Bits' lesson: