Case Study: MicroBit vs SDGs

A Makeathon example in which students use creative technology to address grand societal challenges

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for global efforts to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Getting students to understand the SDGs, and the challenges they describe is a great starting point for a Makeathon as it sets a series of possible problems to address and overcome. The SDGs are well-described online and easy to research, and the targets and measures for each are clear.

The BBC Micro:Bit is a simple but powerful technology that students can use to build complex machines and processes that respond to different inputs and sensors. Students are often very quick to learn how to use and programme the Micro:Bit and it is a wonderful tool to get them started with physical computing without limiting their creativity or ambition.

A simple Makeathon can be structured around the challenge of selecting and addressing an SDG using one or more Micro:Bits to prototype and demonstrate a proposed solution.

Here are a few ways in which students could use the Micro:Bit to explore and start to address some of the SDGs:

  1. Climate Action: Students can use sensors attached to the Micro:Bit to measure environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and air quality. The data can be communicated through lights on the Micro:Bit or generated sounds. These can be used to identify areas where action is needed to mitigate the effects of climate change.

  2. Quality Education: The Micro:Bit can be used to create educational games and tools that help students learn in new and engaging ways. By creating these tools, students can help to improve access to quality education for everyone.

  3. Affordable and Clean Energy: Students can use sensors to monitor energy usage in their homes and schools, and then use this data to identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced. They can also use the Micro:Bit to create renewable energy projects, such as solar-powered devices.

  4. Good Health and Well-being: Sensors can be used to monitor vital signs and other health metrics, which can help people stay healthy and identify potential health problems early. Students can use the Micro:Bit to create wearable health monitoring devices that are affordable and accessible to everyone.

  5. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Students can use the Micro:Bit to create innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges, such as improving transportation and logistics systems. They can also use sensors to monitor the performance of industrial equipment, which can help to reduce waste and improve efficiency.

By participating in the Makeathon, using the Micro:Bit and other emerging technologies to address these and other SDGs, students can develop the skills and knowledge needed to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

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