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Microbit vs Arduino | Which is better in STEM Education for Kids

08 Feb 2024
Microbit vs Arduino | Which is better in STEM Education for Kids

In this article, we will answer a question that those curious about STEM education and STEM experts wonder, together with our R&D team: Which is better for children in terms of STEM Robotics coding: micro:bit or Arduino?

One of the biggest advantages of working as an SEO expert in the PicoBricks team is having a large R&D team. Because whenever I come across a question about STEM education, I hold a meeting with our expert team, learn the answers to all the questions, and share them with you.

Now, let's answer the question mentioned in the title with an expert view:

micro:bit vs. Arduino

We will compare these two great microcontrollers in 5 main topics. These are:

  1. Design
  2. The Programming Languages They Use
  3. Ease of Use
  4. Community and Support
  5. Price

1. Design

Our target audience is children. Children always like and adopt products that look more colorful and fun. That's why children's books are colorful, while the books we read have tiny letters and boring covers.

With this perspective, we can understand that the design of micro:bit is more oriented towards children.

Each micro:bit card comes in a different color. This sometimes even appeals to me. Additionally, micro:bit has colorful LEDs on its own. This extra attracts children's attention.

Arduino, on the other hand, has a somewhat more boring appearance. It has a flat color and has pins for inputs and outputs. It does not offer any customization options. Its target audience is people who have reached mid and high levels in the field of robotics. Therefore, Arduino designers might not have seen the need to offer extra customization.

In terms of STEM education for children, micro:bit scores a point with its design.

2. The Programming Languages They Use

The programming languages used, their difficulty, and being up-to-date are very important.

For example, it wouldn't be a wise move to learn coding in COBOL, a programming language that emerged in 1959 and is almost never used today.

Arduino is programmed with C/C++, a more technical and complicated programming language. This can be challenging for beginners and children.

micro:bit supports block coding and text-based coding in Python. Especially the Makecode IDE developed by Microsoft is a very comprehensive and useful block-based coding program.

Of course, no institution or company codes with block-based coding in daily life. But micro:bit supports both text and block-based coding.

3. Ease of Use

Ease of use varies from person to person, but let's evaluate it according to our target audience, which is children at the beginner level.

As I mentioned before, Arduino appeals to individuals with intermediate and expert-level knowledge. In this context, even to make the simplest project, some technical knowledge is required.

For example, you can examine the circuit diagram below. This is a circuit diagram of the "led blink" project, which is the first project that everyone starting with STEM based robotic coding does.

As you can see, you need to know at least the locations of the pins, how to use cables, and how to use a breadboard. Plus, you need to understand all this programming. This could intimidate children and dampen their enthusiasm.

With micro:bit, things start a bit simpler. micro:bit already has an LED on it. Children can light this LED by dragging and dropping the following blocks in the Makecode IDE.

makecode IDE

You might ask: Doesn't this ease hinder children's development?

Probably not. micro:bit allows beginners to start their first projects very easily, but it gets more challenging as they progress. This way, children's enthusiasm is not dampened, and they continue to learn gradually.

4. Community and Support

This is the area where micro:bit is weakest.

STEM experts and enthusiasts can sometimes get answers to their questions with the help of users on internet forums.

Arduino has a very wide user base. This means that the chances of getting answers to their questions in forums or Facebook groups are high.

However, micro:bit, being relatively new, does not have a very wide user base. But its strength comes from the big companies behind micro:bit.

From these two giant companies; Microsoft usually helps you with its expert staff on issues requiring technical support, while the BBC provides more support in the fields of marketing and education.

Additionally, we, the PicoBricks team dedicated to STEM education, have noticed this potential in micro:bit and decided to develop a micro:bit kit:


Many of you know us. We are one of the most problem-free companies in the industry in terms of technical support and customer satisfaction. With this strength behind us, we promise to offer you a smooth collaboration in your STEM education journey with micro:bit.

PicoBricks for micro:bit is now funding on Kickstarter. Our project, which was funded $10,000 in one hour, managed to attract the attention of wide audiences. Come and contribute to the development of STEM education:

microbit kit

Best micro:bit STEM Kits

5. Price

This topic is the most uncertain compared to the other four items. Let me explain:

The original Arduino is more expensive than the micro:bit, but there are many Arduino clones on the market that are much cheaper than the micro:bit.

But children cannot start projects with just an Arduino alone. They must buy additional components, which incurs extra costs.

I'm not only talking about robotic components. For example, you might need to buy a soldering iron to solder cables together.

micro:bit allows children to start beginner-level projects on their own. For example, all the components needed for a project like lighting an LED are on the micro:bit: LED, button, connection cable...

Of course, as you specialize in STEM robotic coding, you need to buy new components, but micro:bit components are priced similarly to Arduino components.

Furthermore, PicoBricks for micro:bit kits include all popular robotic components and connect all these components without cables and soldering. This way, you save on significant costs, avoid cable clutter, and can focus solely on teaching and learning. Soldering can also be dangerous for children.

If I were to summarize all this in a table:

Feature Microbit Arduino
Design User-friendly, designed for children. Includes built-in LED matrix, buttons, and sensors. Modular, compatible with many sensors and modules. Usually requires additional components.
Educational Resources Extensive educational-focused resources. Offers lesson plans, videos, and project ideas. Offers extensive resources but more towards a general audience.
Programming Languages Block-based coding (MakeCode, Scratch) and Python. C/C++ based, can be more technical and complex.
Usability Excellent for beginners. Easy to use right out of the box. Suitable for intermediate to advanced users. Requires basic knowledge of electronics.
Price Generally more affordable. Cost-effective solution for schools. Can be slightly more expensive than Microbit. Additional components increase the cost.
Target Audience Children and beginners, teachers. Hobbyists, intermediate to advanced students, and engineers.
Community and Support Wide community focused on educators and young students. Large and diverse user community, provides technical support.
Application Areas Education, basic electronic projects, learning to code. Hobby projects, complex electronic designs, prototyping.
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