Have you heard of the word 'antenna'?

When we think about what an antenna is, what do we think of? Some people think of insects. Some people think of metal structures sticking out at the back of the old television sets. Or some people think of a metal rod attached to their radio. Well, the micro:bit has an antenna as well.

Similarly to televisions, or radios, the micro:bit is able to send and receive signals with this antenna. What is interesting is that the micro:bit communicates through Bluetooth to do this. What other items around your home use Bluetooth?

Maybe Bluetooth connects a phone to the sound system in your home. So, if you play music from your phone, you hear it from the speaker. However, when you first buy that speaker, there are more steps involved to make sure those two things are communicating together. Think about the steps you would normally have to take. 

Try this out at home: 

What you will need: Paper, markers- 4 different colours if possible and 2-3 people.

1) Cut four A4 pieces of paper in half. You should now have eight pieces of paper. 

2) Gather four markers/colouring pencils/pens of different colour. I will be selecting specific colours but you can change this based on your selection at home. 

3) On two pieces of paper, use a red marker and write: Red group.

4) On the back of these two pieces of paper write: Hobbies, Food, Books.

5) On two pieces of paper, use a blue marker and write: Blue group.

6) On the back of these two pieces of paper write: Multiply, Divide.

7) On two pieces of paper, use a green marker and write: Green group.

8) On the back of these two pieces of paper write: Family, Friends.

9) On the last two pieces of paper, use a purple marker and write: Purple group.

10) On the back of these two pieces of paper write: Add, Subtract.

11) Position these pieces of paper opposite each other on the floor in your home, as below:

12) Gather two people that can take part in the game. 

             a) Give them both some paper/post-it's and a marker/pencil/pen. 

             b) Nominate one of them to be the person who begins the communication when at the group. 

             c) Explain to them that when you call a group, they go to that sheet, look on the reverse and can only communicate on the topics mentioned using their paper.  

For example: 

  • Call "Blue".
  • They proceed to the blue group. Look at the back and see the topics they must communicate about are "Multiply, Divide". 
  • The person who begins might write down '5 x 5' and pass the paper to the other. The other person might write 25 and pass it back. 

With the above challenge completed, you are going to really understand the steps involved in getting our micro:bit set-up and ready to send and receive information. We will be using something called the radio function. Let's go and see how it works by watching below!

So, now that you have learned about creating a program that uses the micro:bit radio function, we want you to practice! The DreamSpace team have shown you how to send and receive (i) strings and (ii) numbers. Do you think you can add more inputs to send more things?

Download the PDF below to see some home challenge support guides including some blocks you could trial using in your code.