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Data handling

Unit of work

5 lessons


7-11 yrs

This series of five lessons is aimed at students aged 9-10. Students learn about data through a variety of unplugged activities. They write and evaluate algorithms and programs using selection and repetition to use the micro:bit as a temperature recorder, an automatic warning system and a digital assistant. You will ideally use physical micro:bits for these lessons, although you can also use the simulator.

Computational thinking:




Information handling


Data handling



Overall key learning

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology

Additional skills

Researching, design thinking, problem-solving, debugging.

Lesson 1: What is data?

Pupils learn about data by researching data about a person of their choosing and exploring ways data can be grouped. They consider the data that might be held about them and look at examples of data misuse by organisations.

Key learning:

  • To understand what data is
  • To classify data
  • To identify ways that data might be used
Lesson 1 details

Lesson 2: Data treasure hunt

Pupils go on a treasure hunt around school to find data before learning about sensors and writing programs to record the temperature in different locations. They consider what the data they have collected shows and identify patterns.

Key learning:

  • To understand that some devices uses sensors
  • To write simple programs using sensors
  • To use the BBC micro:bit to collect data
Lesson 2 details

Lesson 3: Sensor gadget design

Students develop their understanding of sensors through unplugged activities and by writing algorithms using repetition and selection. They then apply their understanding to design and evaluate a gadget using a sensor.

Key learning:

  • To explain how repetition is used when programming sensors
  • To follow design criteria to design a product
  • To write algorithms that show how sensors will be used
Lesson 3 details

Lesson 4: Data conditions & selection

Pupils explore using data collected by the sensors on the micro:bit as a condition in programs. Then plan, program and test using the micro:bit as a temperature warning system.

Key learning:

  • To know that data can be used as a condition in selection
  • To explore the effects of changing the value of data in programs
  • To write programs that use data as a condition
Lesson 4 details

Lesson 5: Digital assistants

Students explore using conditions in selection through unplugged activities before writing a program to enable the BBC micro:bit to be used as a digital assistant.

Key learning:

  • To read and write algorithms using selection
  • To identify how digital assistant might work
  • To write a program to use a micro:bit as a digital assistant
Lesson 5 details

These lessons are mapped to the following learning objectives and standards for computing, geography, technologies, numeracy and mathematics: