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BBC micro:bit Discovery Kit helps teachers and parents discover coding

20 January 2020

Kitronik has launched the ‘The Kitronik Discovery Kit for the BBC micro:bit’ which will be unveiled for the first time at The Bett Show 2020 this month.

Since its launch in 2016, the BBC micro:bit has enabled millions of children across the world to take their first steps into coding and programming and begin to unlock their digital creativity with technology.

Kitronik, one of the original BBC micro:bit’s partner organisations involved in the launch of the pocket-sized coding device, has developed a range of products and resources to maximise the impact of the micro:bit on student learning and to support teachers in the planning and delivery of innovative and engaging lessons. The latest product focuses on the needs of students beginning to code for the first time.

The Discovery Kit for the BBC micro:bit

The company has now launched the ‘The Kitronik Discovery Kit for the BBC micro:bit’ which will be unveiled for the first time at The Bett Show 2020 this month. 

The kit motivates first time coders by guiding their progress through five simple experiments which build up to simulate real world systems. Importantly, as the kit assumes no prior knowledge of coding or the BBC micro:bit and contains detailed instructions, it can be used by parents who are keen to improve their own coding knowledge to help their children and to learn alongside them.

Containing detailed information on everything a programming novice will need to know, the kit covers each key skill, from using a prototyping board to using the Microsoft MakeCode Editor and everything in between. It contains five experiments, together with the components required to complete them, and each experiment has detailed instructions. 

Kitronik Co-Founder Kevin Spurr comments: “Globally, the BBC micro:bit has shown itself to be a powerful teaching and learning tool for introducing young people to programming, but many of the kits available to accompany the device assume some prior coding knowledge. We have therefore designed the Discovery Kit to be a ‘first step’ product that can provide students, and their parents, with the basics before moving on to more advanced experiments.” 

The Discovery Kit is priced at £10 + VAT making it a very viable option for budget conscious schools. 

ZIP Halo HD 

In addition to the Discovery Kit for the BBC micro:bit, Kitronik will also launch the latest edition to its micro:bit ZIP LED product range, the ZIP Halo HD. This is a supercharged version of Kitronik’s standard ZIP Halo and packs a much bigger punch. 

The halo shaped light board now has a total of 60 fully controllable RGB LED’s. It is accompanied by a Real Time Clock (RTC) module meaning that students and makers can implement time functionality into their projects to the precise minute and second. There is also the addition of a microphone and a piezo buzzer to make the unit more sound sensitive. Unlike the standard ZIP Halo, the Halo HD features a plug and play style connector meaning no more screws or screwdriver are required. 

Kitronik has also created a set of custom blocks on the MakeCode website to make coding and using the board as simple as possible. 

Working with teachers 

Kitronik prides itself on its close relationship with the teachers who use their kits and both new BBC micro:bit products and their accompanying learning resources have been designed in consultation with teachers to enable them to be used effectively across STEM subjects. 

Joining Kitronik for the duration of The Bett Show is Caroline Keep, the award-winning teacher who turns pupils into ‘makers’. Caroline is a physics teacher at Penketh High School near Warrington and winner of The Times Educational Supplement’s (TES) School Awards 2018 ‘New Teacher of the Year.’

Caroline is not only a physics teacher, but also the director of the UK’s first state school based “makerspace” classroom which has been designed to encourage all of the school’s pupils to become inspired by science and technology. Caroline will be with the Kitronik team to demonstrate the potential of Kitronik's electronics projects kits and show how they can be used within the classroom. 

Kitronik will be exhibiting at The Bett Show at London’s Excel Centre from the 22-25 January 2020. They can be found at stand SA37. Further information is available here.

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