Reaction Time

Overview

Age Range: 9 – 13 years old

Use the micro:bit to complete an investigation into reaction time and how external sources such as noise can influence the results. Students will work in groups of two and record their results manually into a table.

Aims

  • Gain a basic understanding how to measure reflex and reaction using modern technology.
  • Learn how to record data in a table format and use the it to extract the mean value.

Download the Code

MakeCode Editor

Click the button below to download the MakeCode editor code for this lesson. The hex file is contained in a zip folder.

Kindly refer to our download the code page for instructions on how to upload your code onto the micro:bit. Please use instructions set A.

This code can also be uploaded into the MakeCode editor.

Kit Required

Micro:bit

Mini Innovation Board

OLED Display

- MicroUSB Cable
- Battery Pack
- 1 x Connector Cable
- 2 x AAA Batteries

Preparation

  1. Connect the micro:bit to the Mini Innovation board via the edge connector.
  2. Use the connector cable to connect the OLED display to the I2C connector on the Mini Innovation board.
  3. Connect the micro:bit to a computer via the microUSB cable.
  4. Download the worksheet for this lesson.
  5. Download the code for this lesson and upload it onto the micro:bit. Go to the top of this page for more details. Once the code is downloaded unplug the micro:bit from the computer and connect the external battery pack.

Activity

  1. Begin by having one student hold the micro:bit ready to begin the investigation. Once they are ready they must press button B on the micro:bit. A message will scroll across the LED matrix which says ‘ready’. At this point a random timer will begin. The timer can be any length between two and eight seconds.
  2. When the timer ends, the LED matrix on the micro:bit will light up. The student must now press button A as quickly as possible.
  3. Once button A has been pressed the OLED display will show the result in milliseconds. The other student should record this result in the table provided in the worksheet.
  4. To restart, press button B. Each student should repeat this a total of 3 times.
  5. Repeat this investigation but now introduce more noise into the environment. This can be done by having the other student talking constantly to the student conducting the investigation.
  6. Once the investigation has been repeated with noise, the students should have a total of twelve results. Three each with minimal noise level and three each with raised noise level. They should now extract the mean from each set of three results and record it in the worksheet provided.

Taking it Further

  • Explore other variable factors that could have an effect on reaction time.
  • Investigate the differences between visual and auditory reactions.

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