Start of main content
Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 0-29 mins
  • Computing
  • D&T

System analysis and design with the BBC microbit

Researching and designing a home security system for the BBC micro:bit

What security systems' features would deter a burglar from breaking into a home?

Home security is increasingly important as homeowners look to ensure that their properties and possessions are protected from potential burglary. Alarm systems are being developed with increasingly complex embedded electronics and programmable components.

For this introductory activity, students will analyse the needs of a home security system so that they can design a product that is tailored to meet a specific set of requirements. It is part of a unit of learning that tasks learners with researching, programming and developing a working door access and alarm system using the BBC micro:bit.

This is one of a set of resources developed to aid the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3. It is part of our series of resources designed to support the use of the BBC micro:bit in secondary school design & technology (DT), computing and engineering lessons. Following this lesson, students can move on to design a home security system with the BBC micro:bit.

Activity: Researching and designing a home security system for the BBC micro:bit

In this activity, learners will look at the requirements for a good home security system from the perspective of a burglar. They’ll do this by watching a home security video featuring home safety tips from an ex-burglar so that they can understand what deters burglars from breaking into a property.

They will then use this information to develop at least four design criteria for the alarm system (such as inputs, outputs, programmable features, etc).

The engineering context

System analysis is used by engineers in software development, product design and other forms of systems engineering such as mechanical and electrical engineering. It’s a key part of understanding users’ needs so that products can be developed and improved through technical or scientific innovations.

A home security system will give students a useful context for learning about programmable components and embedded intelligence in products. It is also an ideal vehicle for using the BBC micro:bit in the classroom and developing the programming skills of learners.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this lesson students will be able to identify and analyse the needs of a home security system, and then be able to determine key design criteria for developing the system.

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 (including videos!), 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.

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