Satellites and rockets are not easily accessible for most schools in New Zealand. Understandably, this can make experiencing space first hand somewhat difficult! However, students can still carry out hands-on investigations using micro:bit sensors to model or investigate space-related projects.
For example, a micro:bit attached to a bottle rocket can be used to measure acceleration. Alternatively, the micro:bit can measure deceleration – how effectively a parachute slows the fall of something like a spent rocket fuel tank.
In this activity, students will use a micro:bit to investigate or model an idea about space.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- code a micro:bit to access at least one of its sensors
- gather data from a real-world investigation using a micro:bit
- discuss how they are modelling an idea about space.
During this activity, students will code a micro:bit in order to access data from one or more of its sensors (temperature, compass direction, light level, sound level, movement). They should be able to relate this to an idea about space.
During this activity, the teacher will support students to understand the micro:bit coding platform. Teachers can explore the range of science activities on the Micro:bit Educational Foundation website and MakeCode website and adjust these for a space context.
Equipment required includes:
- micro:bit and battery pack with 2 AAA batteries
- laptop, tablet or Chromebook with internet access to build code
- a USB lead to connect your micro:bit (if you're using a computer)
- additional items depending on the project under construction.
Download the Word file (see link below).
Kiwrious sensors also collect real and relevant datasets and provide opportunities for students to analyse, interpret and critique data. Read about Kiwrious Science Experience – fostering NoS in the classroom.
Being curious and willing to test ideas are two dispositions that are ideal for those who want to work in the space sector.
This recorded webinar includes Stephen Ross unpacking how to use micro:bit in the classroom.
Use this activity to build a model of a CubeSat and attach a micro:bit to model a sun sensor.
Use this activity to build water bottle rockets. The micro:bit is held in the nose cone to keep it safe!
For more information about micro:bit and its capabilities, see the Micro:bit home page and introductory activities page. The online micro:bit community features a huge range of resources for educators to explore.
This activity explores rocket acceleration and soil moisture – two step-by-step experiments from the makecode.microbit.org website.
The HotPopRobot family is a maker-family enterprise keen on STEM. Find out how they used micro:bit to explore rocket travel.
STEM Learning has BBC micro:bit in space activities.
This resource has been produced with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the support of the New Zealand Space Agency.