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PICOBOARD resources

The worksheets below have been developed as part of our involvement with the Scratch at MIT, Scratch in Barcelona, and Mozilla Festivals. They can be used to build and calibrate sensors for the Scratch Sensor Board (Picoboard). They are also delivered as workshops for local schools by the University's Technology Volunteers.

To use these resources, you'll need to have:

  • Scratch software, download it free of charge from
  • Scratch Sensor Board (or picoboard) with the driver installed (manufactured by SparkFun)

The sensor boards provide a means of challenging the notion that computer interfaces are only keyboards and monitors. Young people are already familiar with other interfaces for example to mobile phones and game consoles. Being able to explore alternative inputs to a computer via the scratch sensor boards and develop applications opens new avenues well within the reach of young people. It also poses other questions, for example, how can we improve the sensors, are they reliable over time? How and why do they fail? How can we build better ones? Exploring why things fail or don’t work is often a key to deeper learning and further development.

Picoboard worksheets

"How to make" "How to use" "Useful Information"
Tilt Sensor (Tiltometer) Tilt Sensor (lunch box alarm) Rescaling Sensor Readings
Simple Pointer Bottle top drum kit Identifying Senses and Grounds
Pressure Sensor Pressure Sensor Choosing Sensors
Variable Value Sensor (slider)     
TouchPad TouchPad  
Box It (reaction game)    
Light Meter Optics of the Eye  
Make a colour sensor Use a colour sensor  
Measure breath control    
Count Events People Counter  
Make a Force Sensor Force Sensor Example  
Plant Moisture Sensor Plant Moisture Example  
Make Wind Direction Sensor Wind Direction Example  
Make Wind Speed Sensor Wind Speed Example  
Random Number Generator Investigate Light Sensor