Ivy Chimneys Primary School make magic with their micro:bits

16th May 2024

Last year, we partnered with BBC Education and the Micro:bit Educational Foundation to donate almost 700,000 micro:bits to primary schools across the UK as part of the BBC micro:bit – the next gen campaign. We’re proud to say that almost 90% of primary schools in the UK have now received these devices.

If you’ve not come across a micro:bit before, it’s a pocket-sized computer that can be programmed in many different ways. The device contains a range of sensors, connectors, and inputs that offer multiple applications, and kids can let their imagination run wild to create exciting projects and activities.

But most importantly, micro:bits are an amazing way of getting kids into digital skills and coding at an early age. Because of advancements in technology, 65% of primary school children will end up working in jobs that don’t exist today. Our donation of these devices is vital in supporting primary school children and teachers in this transition to future digital careers by accelerating computational thinking, programming, digital creativity and machine learning skills.

The BBC micro:bit – the next gen campaign is not just to benefit children. Along with the donation of devices, teachers are also supported with virtual training and suites of cross-curricular resources to remove the barriers for staff who might not have the experience or confidence in teaching digital skills.

“The donation of micro:bits is really essential to our school curriculum because we couldn’t afford to buy enough physical computing equipment. I think it’s so important that computational skills are taught at an early age. They’re excited to learn, and it’s a great motivator for them to pick up code.”
Julie Kaleel, Teacher at Ivy Chimneys Primary School

In the spring of this year, we had the absolute pleasure of visiting Ivy Chimneys Primary School in Essex. The pupils there are loving learning with micro:bits and have been using them as part of their computing, physical education (PE), and science lessons. From making games and taking the temperature of their playgrounds, to programming step counters, they’ve been learning the art of the possible with coding.

Some of these activities are part of a nationwide playground survey to empower children’s digital and data collection skills. In partnership with BBC Children’s and Education, the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, Nominet, and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), we’re calling for primary schools to take part. Pupils can learn new skills, get outdoors and engage in practical activities within their school playgrounds, using the micro:bit as a tool for data collection.

It was amazing to see the children at Ivy Chimneys Primary School already getting stuck in. Their teacher, Julie Kaleel, gave us her insight on how the micro:bits have been enriching the curriculum. We also sat down with the children to find out what they’ve been making with the micro:bits, what their favourite things have been to work on, and what they make of coding in primary school. And the Nominet team may have also joined in with some of the activities in the playground – with only a small amount of chaos ensuing.

If you want to find out more about the playground survey, the BBC micro:bit homepage includes online teacher resources, with step-by-step instructions for every activity. There are worksheets, posters, and certificates that teachers can download for their class. For teachers who want extra support with micro:bits, there is free online and face-to-face training.

Nominet is also running an exciting competition for primary schools across the UK to win £5,000 towards a Digital Classroom. UK primary schools can enter a free monthly prize draw to win £5000 to purchase digital equipment for their classroom. The competition will be running from September 2023 to July 2025. Schools can apply via the entry form on our website.

We want to say a big thank you to Julie and the team at Ivy Chimneys Primary School for having us, and to all the wonderful year five and six pupils for showing us the amazing things they’ve been learning. We can’t wait to see what other schools across the country achieve with their micro:bits!