The BBC Do Your:bit Global Challenge is now open for entries, and Leeds Museums & Galleries are community partners in this great digital making project. We’ve teamed up with Leeds Libraries to offer a fabulous range of workshops designed to support young people to enter the challenge.

Museums and Digital Making – What’s the Deal?

Museums are chock full of humankind’s inventions and creations: stuff that people have made to solve whatever problem they were facing at the time. From the humble thimble to the mighty steam locomotive, we’ve got it covered. Add to that the fabulous social and natural history collections, and museums are bursting at the seams with inspiration for today’s makers and problem-solvers.

Coding workshop at Leeds Museums & Galleries

Coding workshop at Leeds Museums & Galleries

The Do Your:bit Global Challenge

This year, Do Your:bit is focusing on the United Nations Global Goals 14 and 15, which are to protect life on land and below the water. Young people aged between 8 and 14 are challenged to use a BBC micro:bit to solve a problem that they see is threatening these goals.

The micro:bit is a micro-computer that is simple enough to be used by complete beginners to coding, but that also has enough functionality for those with existing skills to push themselves and develop more complicated programs. The micro:bit is designed for use with digital making, where coding and crafting are combined to create a physical thing that reacts to inputs and produces outputs.

Along with way, Do Your:bit makers will be developing life skills such as problem solving, effective communication, and resiliency – learning to ‘fail well’ is a huge part of every coder’s journey! We’ll support participants in developing and then entering their project to the challenge. Winners will be invited to an official BBC Do Your:bit event in London.

A taxidermy hedgehog

A hedgehog from our natural science collection. The Do Your:bit challenge is all about preserving life on land and below water.

So what’s going on at Leeds Museums & Galleries and Leeds Libraries?

Together, we’ll be running a series of exciting hands-on workshops around the Do Your:bit project, designed to support participants to learn about the natural world and the problems facing it, along with the coding and creating skills they’ll need to design their solution. Each workshop will be split into two halves. In the first half, we’ll be at Leeds City Museum getting up close and hands-on with some of our natural history collection and learning from our expert Natural Science Curator and Learning Officer. After a quick break and a stroll to Leeds Central Library, we’ll get cracking with some coding related to what we’ve just learnt in the museum, with help from Library resources and some fabulous coding mentors. We’ll look at a different aspect of the natural world and develop new coding skills in each workshop, leading up to sessions where participants can put their new knowledge and skills to use in solving the problem they’ve identified.

A micro:bit, which looks like a black card with lots of gold buttons and labels.

A Micro:bit

How can a young person get involved?

Do Your:bit is open to anyone aged between 8 and 14, and the workshops are free to attend. We’re looking for participants who are able to commit to attending most of the sessions, as we’ll be building our knowledge and skills as we go. All basic equipment such as micro:bits, LED’s, speakers and motors will be provided, along with crafting materials. Micro:bits can also be loaned for free from Leeds Library with a valid library card, meaning coding and creating can carry on at home if wanted. No coding experience is required to join Do Your:bit, just an enthusiasm for protecting the natural world, and a willingness to get stuck in and try new things!

By Izzy Bartley, Digital Learning Officer

For more information on Do Your:bit, see the BBC Do Your:bit website.