One of the great aspects of microcontrollers is that they facilitate multidisciplinary projects. A student might be drawn by the coding, the art, the mechanics, the overall concept, or the team dynamic. Whatever the initial draw, the student becomes invested in the other aspects. The artist wants his code to work. The coder needs her mechanism to function. The person who's invested in the concept wants to bring all elements together. Everyone is invited to broaden their interests and skills.
Microcontrollers YouTube playlist: this playlist shows many of the projects my students and I have done using these four devices.
Adafruit's Circuit Playground Express
My e-book on projects for the CPX
Continuous rotation micro servo
Wheels for continuous rotation micro servo
Alligator clip to male connectors
Micro:bits and add-ons from Sparkfun
3D printable Micro:bit storage rack
Introduction to Computer Science with MakeCode for Micro:bit
Bird Brain Tech's Hummingbird Duo
Using the Hummingbird Duo with the Micro:bit
3D printable items for the Hummingbird Duo
My guide to coding Hummingbirds with Snap!
The Hummingbird Duo (updated board now available in 2021) allows the user to connect input sensors like distance, heat, and sound. These can trigger motors, servos, single-color LEDs, and tri-color LEDs. The board also now can connect with a Micro:bit to allow unteathered use. $159 base kit.
Chibitronics' Chibi Chip