Doctor Who and the micro:bit - Mission Sonic
Teachers! Before you continue, download the lesson plan, hand-outs and presentation slides for this mission here!
People of Earth! Yes, you! We’re going to need your incredible computer skills to save not just your own hide but everyone else's, too.
The Daleks, a group of pure evil alien warmongers inside high tech tanks have their sights set on destroying humanity.
How are they going to do it? With a Reality Bomb! If that baby goes off, all life in every parallel universe will be wiped out. Nasty.
On the bright side of things though, I think you have the skills to help The Doctor out. He can't do this on his own and I’m just a charming Artificial Intelligence program, but we CAN give you all the tools you need to make your own Sonic Screwdriver, get to the bottom of the Dalek's plot, and save the future of the universe. And parallel universes.
...Until the next world-ending disaster, anyway.
Create your Sonic Gadget!
For this mission you're not just students, you'll become inventors! We're going to take that micro:bit of yours and turn it into a Sonic device worthy of saving the Earth.
Replica Sonic Screwdriver
The Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver is made from incredibly rare alien metal but you can make your own with just paper and card.
You will need:
- Your micro:bit and battery pack!
- The Sonic Screwdriver template, downloadable above.
- A pair of scissors, or a craft knife (please be careful with the blade!) and cutting mat
- Tape or glue
To make your sonic screwdriver extra sturdy, glue the template to some stiff card before cutting out all the white areas.
To be able to fit the micro:bit in, you’ll need to cut along the edges of the grey face plate in the middle of the template. It’s a little fiddly, but I’ve highlighted the area you need to cut in green below.
Fold along the black seams of the template. The grey faceplate will stick out once the sides are folded!
With the template open, slide your micro:bit in from the green end of the sonic screwdriver, and poke the buttons through the square holes you cut out earlier.
Remember to plug in the battery pack too! There’s plenty of space inside the screwdriver to fit the battery pack. You can tape it to the inside of the screwdriver to keep it secure.
You can now glue the dark grey edge of the template to ensure the screwdriver stays closed.
If making a replica of my Sonic Screwdriver isn’t your sort of thing, then you can use your micro:bit to make a Sonic… Anything!
Using pads of Velcro, sticky tack or just tape, you can attach your micro:bit to just about anything you can think of.
When making your Sonic Anything, you might want to think about what kind of object you want to Sonic. For example:
- Where would you fit your micro:bit's battery pack? If you can’t hide is somewhere, be sure to stick it firmly to your object too.
- Would your Sonic Gadget be easy to hold? I don’t have pockets (or hands, technically), but you’ll want something small enough to carry around.
- Since the micro:bit is powering our Sonic, we want the buttons to be easy to reach, as well as its Input/Output pins at the bottom.
Bring Sound to your Sonic Gadget!
So you've made your own Sonic Screwdriver (Or at least, some kind of Sonic Gadget). Nice! But it's not going to do anything on its own - let's get coding and bring it to life!
There are many different ways to code the micro:bit - and for these missions we'll be focusing on two of them: PXT and Python. You can try these missions in either of these editors... or both! It's totally up to you.
Our goal is to have our Sonic Gadget do the following:
- We want to activate our gadget when the A button is pressed
- When the A button is pressed, we want a sound to play!
- And, just for fun, let's display a picture of the Tardis on the micro:bit's LEDs, too!
Oh but don’t forget – the micro:bit can’t play sound on its own – you need to add some speakers or headphones first!
Don’t worry though, you can find a simple guide on how to hack your headphones here.