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Age Range: 7-11
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D & T
  • Computing
  • Science
  • Maths

Measuring paraathletic performance with the BBC microbit

Designing and programming a device that a wheelchair athlete can use to measure their performance

This fun computing activity tasks learners with creating a device that supports people with disabilities in participating in sports events. Students will produce a programmable system to help a wheelchair athlete measure and record their sporting performance over time. This activity not only enhances technical skills but also promotes how technology can be used to improve lives.

This is one of a set of resources developed to aid the teaching of the primary national curriculum, particularly KS2. This is part of our series of resources designed to support the use of the BBC micro:bit in primary school design & technology (DT), computing and engineering lessons.

Activity: Designing and programming a device that a wheelchair athlete can use to measure their performance

In this fun class project activity learners will make use of the BBC micro:bit to design and create a programmable device that can measure and log the number of rotations a wheelchair wheel turns and the distance it has travelled.

Learners will be guided through the process of analysing a design brief and criteria before embarking on one of two paths: designing and producing the programming themselves or using a pre-written program that they can download directly onto their device and edit as needed.

The engineering context

This activity highlights the crucial role engineers play across various sectors, from sports and education to healthcare, and the potential they have to drive positive societal change. By designing and programming a device to aid wheelchair athletes, learners will see how engineering can break down barriers and improve lives.

Suggested learning outcomes

By participating in this activity, learners will develop the ability to design a programmable device capable of measuring the number of times a wheelchair wheel turns and the distance it covers. They will also become proficient in using the BBC micro:bit's data logging feature to record the data collected over time.

Examples of the BBC micro:bit programs

Click here to open the program directly in the microbit code editor or download the programs below to open in your existing editor.

Stater program

Wheel program

These programs can be downloaded as .hex files below via the 'Download all' button. 

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

Download our classroom lesson plan and PowerPoint presentation below.

Please do share your highlights with us @IETeducation. 

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