What’s a Microcontroller? with micro:bit and Python Curriculum Ready for Fall 2021 Class Adoption!

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Pre-engineering Curriculum

We’ve released the first 100+ web pages of the What’s a Microcontroller? with Python curriculum! This popular series is designed to move the casual middle school or high school maker student into a pre-engineering curriculum. The program uses the micro:bit v2.0 with a simple component set with a focus on signal measurement, circuit building, and the electronic laws applied in their design.

Students completing the first chapters will be able to:

  • Calculate equivalent resistances connected in series and parallel
  • Use two of three Ohm’s law quantities (voltage, resistance and current) to calculate the third.
  • Correctly interpret International System of Units (SI) prefixes and units like kΩ, mA, MHz and more.
  • Write scripts to control individual LED light blink rates
  • Write scripts to control the timing and sequence of multiple LED lights
  • Understand and be able to calculate an on/off signal’s frequency, period, and duty cycle
  • Measure on/off voltages with a voltmeter 
  • Probe and display a signal with an oscilloscope

The parts kit is fully defined, and we’ll be a few steps ahead of our classrooms through the Fall as we post the remaining curriculum, which could comprise a full-semester course. At this point, we recommend educators integrate this into their Fall 2021 courses. This curriculum may be used as a prerequisite or in parallel to the cyber:bot tutorials. 

Below are some highlights of the activity surrounding the new What’s a Microcontroller? with Python curriculum. 

CYBERscope Software for Signal Measurement

The CYBERscope is a virtual tool for measuring voltage, resistance, duty cycle, current, and signals used in the What’s a Microcontroller? with Python series. Since the micro:bit has analog input and somewhat deterministic timing, it can also be a test and measurement tool. If you’ve already got a micro:bit, try it out! If not, here’s a quick look:

By simply including the multimeter module students have access to all of the CYBERscope functionality:

				
					from multimeter import * 
				
			

Using the alligator clips connected to micro:bit’s P0 and P2 pins, they’ll probe the circuit and easily capture the signals demonstrated in the curriculum. The values can be displayed as floating-point decimal or on a graph.  

Hardware Kit Choices

Educator Workshops are Underway through Fall!

In July we completed the first of four series of three-class Educator’s Workshops for this series. While we recorded them for YouTube, the videos don’t show the homework assignments between the classes (which usually average about one hour). If you’d like to get a feel for the workshops, start here:

Register for a Workshop in September, October or November

The Educator’s Workshops are entirely free. Once accepted, we send out the hardware three weeks before the class. See the Events page for our upcoming workshops in September, October and November. To qualify for the free hardware, you must be an American educator. If you are outside of the United States, you may buy the kit and register for the Zoom sessions. 

Educator-only Downloads (Assessments, Scope and Sequence, Teaching Guides)

Educators may request access to the assessments, scope and sequence, and teaching guides by sending a message to learn@parallax.com. An excerpt is shown below.

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