# Activities with BBC micro:bit as a Foundation for Statistical Reasoning of Lower-Secondary Students

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## Abstract

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## 1. Introduction

#### 1.1. Identifying Errors and Sources of Variation

#### 1.2. Computational Thinking in Mathematics Education

- What aspects of the activities are addressed by lower-secondary students while working on statistical investigations with the BBC micro:bit?
- What sources of variation and what errors in measurement are lower-secondary students able to identify while engaging in the activities?
- What suggestions for eliminating errors can lower-secondary students identify from their activities?

## 2. Materials and Methods

#### 2.1. Description of the Activity

#### 2.2. Participants

#### 2.3. Data and Analysis

## 3. Results and Discussion

#### 3.1. Statistics

#### 3.2. Handling Variables

#### 3.3. Manipulation with BBC micro:bit

#### 3.4. Limitations of the Study

## 4. Conclusions

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Data Availability Statement

## Conflicts of Interest

## References

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Teacher 2: | Look at the board. This is the data you dictated to me. And what did you guys say it could depend on? I heard something that it might depend on how big your foot is. What else could it have depended on how much we charged? |

Student: | It depended on whether we counted only one step for one leg or one step for two legs. |

Teacher 2: | Okay were there some people who only counted the leg they had the micro:bit on? |

Teacher 2: | It could have depended on this, what else could it have depended on? |

Student: | I counted 60 when I counted one leg, the micro:bit counted 50 and if I counted both legs, … |

Teacher 2: | So you’d have something like 120. |

Teacher 1: | Okay and why is there that difference, why is there 50 and 120? Explain. |

Student: | I don’t know, I don’t understand. |

Teacher 2: | Okay the length of the leg affects what? Because you all walked the same distance. |

Student: | But each step is different. |

Teacher 2: | Yes, even different step length can affect it. |

Teacher 1: | Watch me and tell me what the difference is. |

Students: | You clump. |

Teacher 1: | What is the difference? |

Student: | You lifted your legs more when you did one a time. |

Teacher 1: | Exactly, so what is the sensor like? Isn’t it broken? |

Teacher 2: | Well, what does that sensor do when we lift our legs more versus one where we’re shuffling? |

Students: | It shakes more. |

Teacher 2: | Well, it shakes more and what does that mean? |

Student: | It sounds better. |

Teacher 2: | Exactly, the more it is exposed to shaking at that one moment the more it registers. Okay, and what’s the difference in what I’m doing? |

Student: | Some steps are short and others are long. |

Teacher 2: | So what does that affect? |

Student: | The number of steps. |

Teacher 2: | Exactly. Because we have walked the same distance. So the number of steps can also affect the length of the steps. |

Teacher 1: | This is Teacher 2 standing by the door holding a device and counting how many people came in and how many left. I mean, if I came in now, what would he do, plus or minus? |

Students: | Plus. |

Teacher 1: | Plus one, and if I left so? |

Students: | Minus one. |

Teacher 1: | Let’s try to explain it like this. You go home to save money. You get a piggy bank. It can be a box or a piggy bank. It doesn’t matter. When you get it, what’s inside? |

Student: | It’s empty. |

Teacher 1: | Try expressing it with a number. If it’s empty, then how many are there? |

Students: | Zero. |

Teacher 1: | Zero, well. So when you start working with the counter, it has to be set to zero. Now I’m going to give you two euros, and you’re going to put them in the piggy bank. |

Student: | It will be plus two. |

Teacher 1: | You’re going to buy an ice cream. |

Student: | That will be minus one. |

Teacher 1: | Grandma will give you 5 euros. |

Students: | That’s plus 5. |

Teacher 1: | Grandpa will give you 18 euros, and we’re getting lost. |

Student: | So we have 24 euros. |

Teacher 1: | Okay once in a while we can look in that piggy bank and count the money we have in there but all my money are stored there. |

Teacher 1: | We can see that the memory of the micro:bit has no such place to store anything yet. I’ll create one. We have to give it a name. What shall we call it? |

Students: | Bank. |

Teacher 1: | Bank? We’re going to count people. |

Student A: | People. |

Teacher 1: | People? |

Student B: | Counter. |

Teacher 1: | To make it so democratic, so who would vote for the variable name ‘counter’? More people seemed to vote for ‘count’. Because it’s good to name those variables according to what they tell us. So we’ll create a variable named ‘counter’. |

Teacher 1: | Okay, let’s not click a few people and have them display them. Now your job the next morning is to reset the counter. How will you do that? |

Student: | I’m going to use B to decrease by one. |

Teacher 1: | You could do it any way you want but if you have 248 people there it would take quite a long time to reset the counter. How would you reset the number of people? Notice that I’m going to show you again because this is such a, no not that tricky question but how do you program it, tell me when do you reset it? |

Student A: | When I turn it off and on. |

Teacher 1: | Great but in practice that means how do you reset it? You can turn it off and on or computers have that special mode that they reset. And do you remember from last week where the reset button is? |

Student B: | Here, on the other side. |

Teacher 1: | Teacher: exactly, so every time you hit the reset button it goes all the way back to the beginning, whatever settings were there always goes all the way back to the beginning. There are three buttons on the micro:bit, two on the front and one on the back. |

Teacher 1: | My question now is when you shake your leg, what do you do with that value? |

Student: | It increases. |

Teacher 1: | I’ll leave that solution up to you. When the micro:bit registers that you shake, the value is supposed to increase. Then we would still need the micro:bit to display that value, the number of steps. We wouldn’t decrease, however. So our pedometer is only going to have one functionality. When the pedometer is shaken the value will increase. And when we press button B, it’ll display the value. Now you have time to rewrite the code. You can modify this code and take another look here that where I pulled this code from. It’s in the input section. When it’s shaken, that’s going to be our gesture, and now when I shake it the value should increase. |

Student: | So we’re going to have the variable increased by one. |

Teacher 1: | I’ll leave that up to you. Okay, what do we need next? We probably won’t need A + B, so I’m going to throw that out. Just modify the code so that the value is displayed when we press the B button. So when I shake the microbit, the value is magnified, and when I press B, the value |

Teacher 1: | Let’s suggest if he [Teacher 2 standing at the door] had a BBC micro:bit device in his hands, what could he use to add and what could he use to take away? |

Students A: | Using the buttons A and B. |

Teacher 1: | Excellent, using the buttons A and B. What will the A do? |

Student A: | A adds one and B subtracts one. |

Teacher 1: | Great, and I’d like to see that how many people are in the room at the moment. You know it could be 150 people. How would you find that out? |

Student B: | By pressing A + B. |

Teacher 1: | Do you know what you are going to do? You’re going to reset your micro:bit, reset it just before, and then you’re going to walk down this hallway. Finally, after reaching the first door, you will turn back, and using the other side, after that other door, and you’re going to go back. And all the time you will count the number of steps you’ve taken. So you reset your micro:bit before you go, and now Teacher 2 is going to show you what that looks like. You see he’s counting the steps. |

Teacher 1: | We want to show this on the display. Which part of these commands did we go to when we wanted to show something on the display? |

Student A: | Basic. |

Teacher 1: | So let’s go to ‘basic’. And let’s try to find in ‘basic’ what we could use. |

Student B: | Display a number. |

Teacher 1: | Well, we could display a number. So let’s take the command ‘display number’. And that’s what was said, that command can connect nicely to that. I mean, I can take that variable and that’s how it can relate to that. |

Teacher 1: | For example, a gesture is when we tilt the micro:bit. Zooming is also a gesture. Now it’s off and when I pick it up it turns on, that’s also a gesture. Those gestures are something that is recognised by the device. Our micro:bit, look, recognizes these gestures. Do you remember? We used this gesture during previous lesson. When you shake it, and then we programmed what it’s supposed to do when you shake it. It can lean, it can go log up. Now imagine you’re doing a pedometer, that is, you’ve got a micro:bit on your foot and you’re walking with it. Which gesture would you use to count the steps? |

Student A: | Shaking, because the whole leg is shaking. |

Student B: | Acceleration. |

Teacher 1: | Okay, but we need to choose a gesture. From these you have here you probably won’t be tilting your leg to the right or left, you probably won’t be twisting your leg to have the screen tipped but you’ll probably be shaking that leg. Cool. |

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## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Fojtík, M.; Cápay, M.; Medová, J.; Valovičová, Ľ.
Activities with BBC micro:bit as a Foundation for Statistical Reasoning of Lower-Secondary Students. *Mathematics* **2023**, *11*, 3206.
https://doi.org/10.3390/math11143206

**AMA Style**

Fojtík M, Cápay M, Medová J, Valovičová Ľ.
Activities with BBC micro:bit as a Foundation for Statistical Reasoning of Lower-Secondary Students. *Mathematics*. 2023; 11(14):3206.
https://doi.org/10.3390/math11143206

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Fojtík, Michal, Martin Cápay, Janka Medová, and Ľubomíra Valovičová.
2023. "Activities with BBC micro:bit as a Foundation for Statistical Reasoning of Lower-Secondary Students" *Mathematics* 11, no. 14: 3206.
https://doi.org/10.3390/math11143206