Discover how Canadian environmental data can help us make better decisions in solving the problem of climate change by building a maker exercise using the micro:bit hardware.




Hey Educators, we’re giving away FREE classroom kits for eligible teachers!  Kits come with all the tools, electronics, and micro:bits you need for this workshop, a value of $650!

One kit per classroom, each class must fill out a pledge form.


Haven’t taught with micro:bits? Unsure of where to begin? Our partners at Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ) are here to support you! They have developed ENGLISH and FRENCH lesson plans for this Data Visualization Activity. You can also book a consultation/ troubleshooting session with a KCJ instructor for your class!


Once you've recieved your kit, explore tons of customizable visualization projects below! Find a topic you are passionate about and learn the data behind that project to tell your story using micro:bits, makecode, and electronics. Each project has tailored makecode and instructions for you to get started.


With Exploring By the Seat of Your Pants, your students will have the opportunity to show off their projects and inspire hundreds of our students to learn about climate data and create their own data visualization projects.



Once you receive your classroom electronics kits, you are ready to build your Data Visualization project to communicate different climate science topics! Your exhibits will use the micro:bit coding along with electronics and data from the list below.

  1. Select a Topic from the list below
  2. Select a Data Visualization Project
  3. Follow the instructions on how to use the coding and hook up your electronics. Try to adapt the code to make the exhibit your own!

Renewable Energies

Datasets for exploring renewable energy sources and energy usage

Heavy Precipitation Days

Datasets that cover the amounts of rain or snowfall in Canada and its provinces. Use these to show changes in amount of precipitation over time

Mean Temperature

Datasets that show the average temperature for Canada and its provinces through the years and near future. Use these to show temperature maps, changes over time. or even possible climate futures

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Datasets related to Greenhouse Gasses — such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Use these to tell stories of human impact on Canada and its provinces.

COMING SOON - Gather Your Own Data!

Have your class collect their own climate-focused data. Whether students ask their peers how often they bike to school, or if they use outside resources to collect data on climate change. With this option, students have the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of creating a data visualization exhibition!


 Now that you have your electronics and templates, you are ready to put your project together. Follow the instructions to set up your projects!


How to Connect micro:bit to Electronics

No matter what electronics package you have, we’ve made setting up your project as easy as 1-2-3.


When you’ve selected the data set and region you wish to use, clicking on the link will take you to a page that displays the compiled code for the project.

A. Click the Edit Code button

The button is located at the top right corner to be taken to the makecode website.

On this page. you can download the code to your micro:bit – or if you are inclined, you edit the code yourself to change the project however you like.

Note by changing the code, Steamlabs cannot guarantee the project will work as the intended

B. Download Code

The most reliable way is to click on the large blue Download button in the lower left corner of the screen

C. Save your code as a .hex file to your computer.

When your micro:bit is plugged in, it will create a separate drag-and-drop storage drive to easily save your projects. Open up the location you downloaded the file to, and drag it into the Micro:bit drive folder (or save it directly to the Micro:bit drive if you don’t wish to save your files locally).

D. Upload

You will see a progress bar pop up, and blinking lights on the back of the micro:bit, and now your project has been uploaded. Congratulations!

Optional: If you are using a browser that supports WebUSB (like Chrome or Edge), you have a second, slightly faster option for downloading and updating code

Click on the gear icon in the top right of the screen, and in the drop-down menu, select Connect Device

E. Select your micro:bit

The website will guide you through the rest of the process; all you need to do is select your micro:bit when prompted, and afterward, anytime you press the download button in the lower right corner, it will automatically send to your micro:bit and update the code.




Neopixels (Grid, Ring, Strip)


To hook up the neopixel to your micro:bit, first locate your connector wires.

One end has three alligator clips that can be hooked up to the circle pins on the bottom of the micro:bit, and the other end has a special JST connector with three small metal pins.

Your neopixel will also have wires attached to the back with tiny writing above – in most cases, it will actually have two sets, though you only need one – you need to find the set of wires that has a Di or Din above it. This stands for Digital Input.

Connect your neopixels to your bundled wires using the JST connector; it should easily snap together and lock in place. Now it’s just a matter of following the wires and connecting them to the correct pins on the micro:bit.

From the neopixel:

  • The red wire connects to power (3V Pin)
  • This wire carries the electricity for the device to run
  • The green wire connects to pin 0
  • This is the signal wire that is carrying information from the micro:bit to the servo
  • The white wire connects to ground (GND pin)
  • This provides a way for excess electricity to flow safely

OPTIONAL: These connectors can become loose or even snap over time due to mishandling or heavy usage. To ensure the long life of your neopixels, it is recommended to add a dab of hot glue over the wire connection on the neopixel.





You’ll notice that once the code has been downloaded, your neopixel grid should have a strip of LEDs light up on one side. This is the Legend bar and should be oriented to fit the map template you selected. Use some tape to keep the grid from sliding out of place.


Upon starting up the project, you’ll notice a single flashing LED on the neopixel ring. This LED needs to be positioned at the bottom of the ring cutout on the activity and secured in place with a bit of tape

Fairy Light Strip

The orientation of this project is up to you! Attach it to your project in any way that makes sense to you – you’re the visualization expert here!


Servo Motor


To hook up the servo to your micro:bit, first locate your connector wires.

One end has three alligator clips that can be hooked up to the circle pins on the bottom of the microbit, and the other end has a special JST connector with three small metal pins. Grab the servo motor and connect the wire to the pin end of your connector cable.  Now it’s just a matter of following each wire and connecting the alligator clip to the correct Micro:bit pin.

From the servo motor:

  • The brown wire connects to ground (GND pin)
  • This wire provides a way for excess electricity to flow safely
  • The red wire connects to power (3V pin)
  • This wire carries the electricity for the device to run
  • The yellow wire connects to Pin 0
  • This is the signal wire that is carrying information from the micro:bit to the servo



The servo motor will fit into the [activity/envelope] by placing it through the hole in the front. Thread the wiring through first, then the body – make sure the white bump for the servo arms is closer to the bottom of the activity. 

 You can then attach the servo arm to top of the servo. They will snap on tightly, but for added security, use the micro screws that accompany the servo motor to lock you choice of arm in place.




Are you having issues with your activity? Try these helpful [ideas] to get your project back on track!

  • Check to see if your micro:bit is functioning. There should be a small red light under the USB port while it is plugged into a computer
  • Ensure the firmware is up to date. For more information, please visit
  • Make sure there is no external battery plugged into the microbit
  • You may just need to redownload your code.
    • Sometimes there may be a corruption error when downloading to the microbit. Remedy this by downloading the code again, but using the option to manually drag the .hex file from your downloads folder onto the micro:bit drive.

      • Look for flashing lights on the back of your micro:bit. These indicate a data transfer
  • Check your wiring
      • Follow the instructions above to make sure you have connected the correct wires to their pins on the micro:bit
    • Check the connections on the electronics
      • Sometimes, the wires connected on the back of the neopixel can break and come loose. Unfortunately, these parts will either need to be resoldered or replaced
        • Solder: Simply solder the wires back to the connector pads, paying careful attention to ensure the connectors don’t touch
        • Purchase: Replacement parts can also be found at many stores including adafruit, amazon (links), and local electronics retailers

        • Protecting the connections
          • To ensure the connections don’t break from misuse, place a bead of hot glue over the soldered connections on the micro:bit to protect them
        • Download THIS code to your microbit.
        • Hold the servo like the photo below, so the white servo arm connector is closer to the bottom


        •  With a servo connected, button A will point to 0 degrees, and B to 180. Use this to test if the servo is functional (it looks reversed in the code because we have oriented the servo upside down – refer to the arrows on the microbit LED screen to make sure you’re pointing in the correct direction

        • Servos also need at least 4.5v of power to run. If you don’t have a USB connected, make sure you are using a battery pack that can supply this.
        • Remove the servo arm and reconnect it so it aligns with one of these directions after you press the button. Your servo should now be calibrated

        OUR TEAM!

        Calling all educators! KCJ has developed FREE and awesome Data Visualization teacher guides to support you and your classroom. Sign up for teacher training and classroom consultation to take your electronic and micro:bit coding to the next level!

        You have your code – now it’s time to show it off! Order your electronic kits from the Gorilla Store. The kits come with everything you need to make communicate your data and tell your climate science story. Teachers can order bulk classroom kits for their students to make math and science fun!

        Want to show off your data visualization creation or check out other ones students have designed? Check out Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants monthly presentation where we explore a Genaction Science Spotlight and learn ways of telling stories through data!

        We are grateful to Amazon Future Engineer for funding this work!


        GenAction is an initiative of the Inspiring Youth to Climate Action project funded by The Government of Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund. GenAction is led by a strong Partnership Collective of leaders within the science centre sector including: Discovery Centre, the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) – representing over 45 science centres, museums, and information learning organizations across Canada – Science North, and The Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre. 

        With the support of the Environmental Damages Fund from 2021-2024, GenAction will increase youths’ understanding of climate change science, empower them to take action on climate change, and inspire them to become leaders in climate action now and into the future.