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Activity

Max-min thermometer

Intermediate | MakeCode, Python | Buttons, LED display, Temperature sensor | Iteration, Relational operators, Sensors, Temperature, Variables, Weather & climate

Step 1: Make it

What is it?

Track highest and lowest temperatures by leaving this program running on a micro:bit.

micro:bit showing number 9 and a max-min thermometer icon

How it works

  • Like the Thermometer project, this uses the temperature sensor inside the micro:bit’s CPU (central processing unit) to measure the temperature in °C (Celsius).
  • This program keeps track of the lowest and highest temperatures recorded by using 3 variables: currentTemp is the current temperature reading, max is the maximum and min is the minimum.
  • At the start of the program they are all set to the same value; an infinite (forever) loop ensures that every two seconds it takes a reading, and the program compares the current temperature with the max and min variables.
  • If the current temperature is less than (<) than the value stored in the min variable, it changes the min variable to be the same as the current temperature.
  • If the current temperature is greater than (>) the max variable’s value, it changes the max variable to be the same as the current temperature.
  • The program also flashes a dot on the LED display every time the infinite loop runs so that you know it’s working.
  • Press button A to show the minimum and button B to show the maximum temperatures recorded.
  • You could leave the micro:bit running for 24 hours, record the maximum and minimum temperatures and plot on a chart at the same time every day and then reset.

What you need

  • micro:bit (or MakeCode simulator)
  • MakeCode or Python editor
  • battery pack (optional)
  • a source of heat or cooling, like a fan, if you want to see the temperature change quickly – or take the micro:bit outside
  • graph paper if you want to keep a chart of temperatures over time

Step 2: Code it

Step 3: Improve it

  • Compare the reading with another thermometer. How accurate is the micro:bit? Do you need to modify the micro:bit reading to get the air temperature? How could you do that?
  • Convert the temperature to Fahrenheit.
  • Use radio to send temperature readings to another micro:bit.