Creating an Automated House with the Microbit

cardboard doll house

This spring session we tried something a little different and hands on. Campers were on a mission to build their dream home and automate it using the Microbit. The focus was on providing a project based and camper led experience. Working in pairs, basic programming and physical computing concepts were introduced such as creating LED circuits, programming sounds for the doorbell, using a servo to make a fan and introduction to sensors as burglar alarms. The Microbit and blocky based programming IDE (pxt.microbit.org) served as a user-friendly platform for exploration.

Throughout the sessions, campers designed their house with dimensions and dream features (Of course the house needs a dumbwaiter!). From these designs, they built their skeleton house using cardboard carpentry skills. Next came the circuit building and connecting. To fully access the pins available in the Microbit, we used edge connectors and jumper cables. Campers then wired up their house using wire clippers and strippers.

On to the decorating phase… furniture and other accessories were created with leftover scraps of cardboard, craft rolls, wooden dowels and whatever was lying around. Campers were also able to generate their own novel wallpaper using an online seamless pattern generating tool (https://patterncooler.com/) and of course patterned contact paper.

Working over the 7 weeks, campers were able to design, prototype and problem solve their way to a semi- finished project. Collaboration skills were developed and campers began identifying their strengths and applying them to building their dream dollhouses. Kudos to you Zero Day Campers!

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