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September 16, 2019

The Times Tabulator (a Times Table Game using micro:bit)

Activity Name:The Times Tabulator (a Times Table Game using the micro:bit)

Grade Level:

4 (can be used for anyone who wants to practice their times tables in a fun way)

Time Required:

10 minutes to build game console and install game.

Unlimited time to play with game. Recommend a minimum of one class period overall.

Expendable Cost:

  • Batteries

Group Size:

1-2 Students


Subject area:

Math (Multiplication)



We are building a simple game console, using the micro:bit, and installing the Times Tabulator game onto it.



multiplication, times tables, game, learning, math

Educational Standards: 


  • Empowered Learner, 1C
    • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
  • Knowledge Constructor, 3A
    • Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.

Common Core 4th Grade Math

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
    • 4.0A.1;4.0A.4;4.0A.5
  • Numbers and Operations in Base 10
    • 4.NBT.1;4.NBT.5

Prerequisite Knowledge:

  • Students should understand why learning their Times Tables are beneficial
  • Basic knowledge of the micro:bit and being able to upload a program to it

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn Times Tables in a fun way
  • Apply computational tools to build a learning device
  • Use technology in a meaningful and thoughtful way

Materials List:

Introduction / Motivation:

Learning your multiplication tables will help you do calculations quickly. How could we make memorizing times tables more fun? How about we make a game that randomly gives you a multiplication problem and allows you to guess the answer.



To build the game console and install the “Times Tabulator” game, follow these steps:


Build the game console

  • Gather all components and lay them out to make sure that you have everything you need to finish this build
gathering micro:bit times table materials
  • Build the case around the micro:bit
micro:bit case
  • Now, before putting the VELCRO on, arrange the micro:bit (with case now) and the battery pack so that the battery pack switch is easily accessible to you.
  • Put one piece of VELCRO on the back of the micro:bit case and the other piece on the battery pack so that they go together like you had arranged them in the previous step.
attaching VELCRO to console
  • Connect the battery pack and micro:bit by pushing the opposite VELCRO pieces together.
  • Push the battery plug into the appropriate socket on the micro:bit
plugging in micro:bit battery pack
  • Now we have a complete game console! You can now put the batteries into the battery pack and turn it on. But we still need to continue for a few more steps to install the “Times Tabulator” game onto our new console.

Programming the micro:bit

  1. Use the USB cable to connect from the appropriate socket, on the mircro:bit, to the USB port on the computer.
    1. Note: When the micro:bit is plugged in, you do not need to use the battery pack and the micro:bit will be powered by the computer. So switch the battery pack off.
  2. Download the TimesTabulator.hex file
  3. Once downloaded, drag the TimesTabulator.hex file over to the micro:bit Drive on the computer and it will install your new game onto the micro:bit.
  4. Now Play!
playing micro:bit times table game


Game Directions (How to Play):

  1. Turn on the game (by using the battery switch)
  2. You will see a random multiplication problem (for example 8*7) scroll across the micro:bit and it will keep scrolling around over and over until you do the next step
    Times Tabulator gif
  3. Once you know the problem, now hold down the “A” button or “B” button until you see “GO!” scroll across the screen. Release the button when you see “GO!”
  4. Now, enter your answer to the multiplication problem that was given using the following steps:
    1. Use the “A” first to enter the TENS place in your answer.
      Ex: Pressing the “A” button 5 times to get “50” which will scroll across the screen.
    2. Use the “B” button next to enter the ONES place in your answer. Note that the first time you press “B” will not add one and just tells the game that you’re now going to enter the ONES place.
    3. Pressing the “B” button will increment the ONES place.
      Ex: press the “B” button 6 times to get “56” which will scroll across the screen.
  5. When you are happy with your answer, press “A” again to tell the game that you’re finished with your answer.
  6. Once you’ve entered your answer, the following will happen:
    1. If you answered correctly, the word “YES!!!” will scroll across the screen twice.
    2. If you answered incorrectly (good try!), the answer will scroll across the screen twice… so something like “8*7=56”.
  7. Finally, a new random multiplication will start scrolling across the screen, bringing you back to the beginning of the game with a new problem.

Going Further:

There’s so much more to do with the micro:bit and there’s a community building with many projects. Here are some ideas to do more:

  1. Download other games/programs/code, from the community, and try them out on the micro:bit.
  2. Try to write the code for the Times Tabulator game yourself, or a game similar to the Times Tabulator, but for division or fractions.
  3. Learn more about all the options that are available on the micro:bit and write a game of your own invention.

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