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Physical Computing Kits

The National Centre for Computing Education are excited to offer physical computing kits, available to loan for all primary and secondary schools in England. Our free to loan kits are a great way to try out physical computing and engage young people in the hands-on experience of learning computing. 

What is physical computing and why is it important? 

Physical computing is using hands-on programmable hardware, such as floor robots or micro-controllers. These devices can interact with the real world through a variety of inputs, outputs and sensors. This means they can be programmed to respond to real-world inputs, such as the press of a button, or give a real-world output, for example the movement of a robot or control of an LED or motor. 

It is this tangible link to the real world that makes physical computing both engaging and a great way to teach programming. The visibility of the result can support program comprehension, and the interactivity of physical computing provides real and immediate feedback.

The use of physical computing hardware also helps pupils understand the real-life applications of computing can give computing projects a meaningful context. If you’d like to know more about the pedagogy behind physical computing, why not read our physical computing pedagogy quick read. 

What are physical computing kits? 

Physical computing kits are ready to use trays with different types of computing device, carefully designed for each key stage and linked closely to the Teach Computing curriculum. Alongside the Teach Computing curriculum resources, the kits provide everything you need to get started with physical computing in your classroom.

We offer physical computing kits suitable for  both primary and secondary classrooms, and each kit is available for all schools to loan from Computing Hubs in their region. 

What kits are available? 

There are a range of physical computing kits available linked to the Teach Computing curriculum, suitable from KS1 through to KS4:

  • Bee-Bot 
  • Data logger  
  • Crumble 
  • BBC micro:bit 
  • Raspberry Pi Pico 
  • Raspberry Pi 3B+ 

We also offer primary and secondary enrichment trays which could be used to support extra-curricular activity such as a computing club. Check out our guidance around how to use physical computing kit to run a computing club at your school!

For more information about exactly what's in the trays and the teaching resources and courses that accompany them, check out our physical computing kits guide.  

Physical computing Kit CPD 

To ensure you can make the most of your loan kit, we offer a range of CPD courses that allow you to explore physical computing, building confidence and gaining hands on experience with the devices. 

How you can loan a kit 

Our range of physical computing kits are available to loan from our network of Computing Hubs. If you would like to find out more or would like to loan one of the kits, please contact your local Hub. You can find your local Hub here