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Activity

Species counter

Beginner | MakeCode, Python | Buttons, LED display | Animals, Ecosystems, Number & place value , Plants, Variables

Step 1: Make it

What is it?

Use your BBC micro:bit to help you count two different species of plants or animals in your school playground, garden or local park. You will learn about variables, and using the micro:bit's buttons and LED display.

These two videos show you what you'll make and how to code it:

How it works

  • The program uses variables called “A” and “B” to store the number of animals or plants counted.
  • Variables store numbers or values that can change in a computer program.
  • At the beginning of the program, “A” and “B” are set to zero and zero is shown on the LED display. You should always give variables an initial value in a computer program like this.
  • Press button A each time you see a particular animal or plant, for example, a duck, and each time one will be added to “A”.
  • Press button B each time you see another plant or animal of interest, for example, a goose, and each time one will be added to “B”.
  • Shake your micro:bit to show the totals on the LED display.

What you need

  • micro:bit (or MakeCode simulator)
  • MakeCode editor
  • battery pack (optional but recommended)
  • our set-up guide may be useful

Step 2: Code it

Step 3: Improve it

  • Find a way of resetting the counter, for example, by pressing buttons A and B together.
  • Make a graphical representation of the number of animals or plants counted, for example, by using dots.
  • Show icons representing the animals or plants, or play sound effects, when you have reached a target number.