Citizen sensing

Buinho Education is a sub-branch of Buinho, a fablab located in the South of Portugal ( Besides aiming to contribute to the democratization of access to digital technologies, Buinho has been creating a specialization in the environmental sustainability field of action, since the creation of our region’s first Precious Plastic workshop (

Since then, we have been developing innovative strategies that combine environmental and digital education, some of which have been recognized as good practices by the Erasmus program.


This course entitled “Citizen Sensing” is a direct result of a previous Erasmus project successfully coordinated by Buinho in 2019-21 (“Youth Sensing” 2019-3-PT02-KA105-006405). Inspired by the best emerging practices nowadays happening in the fields of Citizen Science and Citizen Sensing (, Buinho took the challenge to bring these practices into the field of youth education, adding some of the methodologies and contents that we already used in the classrooms for the teaching of digital competences. 

The success of this project and the highly innovative practices and methodologies we were able to create inspired us to continue with future educational outcomes as this Erasmus course.

Citizen Sensing Erasmus course is a highly innovative practice based on the accumulated experience of working with public schools of the Alentejo region in the fields of robotics, electronics, coding, or digital fabrication, together with emerging educational outputs, methodologies, and activities developed and tested since 2019 by Buinho.

With Citizen Sensing, your school will be able to innovate and be a leader in the teaching of environmental education by bringing digital and DIY technology into the classroom to identify and deal with real societal problems your community may be facing.

In Citizen Sensing you will learn how to use a microcontroller as the micro:bit and its IoT Expansion board to successfully use different environmental sensors that enables the measurement of air, sound, or water pollution in the surrounding environment.  In Citizen Sensing, you will also be introduced to the Internet of Things (IoT) approach in the classroom, as well as discover new and engaging outdoor activities to develop with your students that focus on the identification of real problems. In Citizen Sensing you will also learn how to create your own customized Sensor detector pad, learn how to program the microcontroller, and how to read and interpret the data your students obtain. Finally, in Citizen Sensing you will also learn how to share results in open data environmental platforms, helping your students to compare their reality with other communities around Europe and have a more critical understanding of the challenges their surroundings may offer.



Citizen Sensing is mainly designed for 7th to 12th-year students, and it’s a fun but serious way to simultaneously teach electronics and programming for the social good.


All our courses are made in a fablab/makerspace environment, which means that the participants will be granted free access to other digital prototyping equipment such as laser cutters or vinyl cutters, which can be helpful for the customization of your projects. Inside a fablab, the only limit is your imagination! As such, all the tools will be provided, we just ask the participants to bring a laptop as it will be needed for the software training.


We would like to highlight the fact that by taking this course you will also have free access to one hour of online courses and tutorials prepared by Buinho’s and available on our e-learning platform. Finally, the course also includes a cultural program for the participant, providing the opportunity to visit Portuguese landmarks and experience a bit of our Culture.



In Portugal, Buinho has been successfully teaching robotics, coding, and digital fabrication to children and youth from elementary to secondary school years, and we want to share some of our experiences with you. We have vast experience in teaching and capacitating teachers from different school years and with zero experience in these subjects. By working with public schools in Portugal we are also well aware of the budget constraints that in some cases provoke digital exclusion of poorer schools, and so have designed educational content that takes advantage of cheap or free equipment and components.

Target Groups – Middle and Secondary School teachers

Duration of the course – Five days

Total Cost of the Course – 400€

Note: Each class will have a maximum of 12 participants to provide higher quality standards and more individualized support.


Day 1

9:00 – 11:00

Welcome session and introduction
We will receive the participants in the working space, making a short introduction to Buinho’s experience in the educational field. We will dedicate some time to getting to know the participants but also their sending schools. You can bring a presentation.

11:00 – 12:00

Introduction to Arduino and Makeblock

In this workshop, you will be introduced to a low-cost microcontroller that changed the world in 2005. The Arduino was the first prototyping electronic platform that enabled millions of students to be introduced to programming, robotics, and electronics in an easy and fun way.


We will also introduce you to another visual programming environment called Makeblock and learn how to use it to control this particular microcontroller and external components, in these case the sensors that we will use to measure the quality of air, water, and level of noise pollution

13:00 – 15:00

How to use temperature and humidity sensors

The practical workshops start with the creation of a simple and low cost temperature and humidity sensor. We will go deeper and learn how to program warning messages or other actions according to the values reported by the sensor.

Day 2

8:30 – 9:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space.

9:00 – 10:00

How to measure water pollution

In the morning we will dedicate our time to introduce and develop easy, simple, and practical workshops with different sensors that measure different environmental dimensions. We will start with the learning on the use of water quality sensors, understanding the values received and suggesting follow up activities for the students in the classroom.

10:00 – 11:00

How to measure air pollution

We will use air particles and gas sensors to measure air quality in our environment. Again, we will also showcase some simple activities to introduce these sensors in the classroom

11:00 – 12:00

How to measure noise  pollution

We finalize the introduction to environmental sensors with the noise measurement sensor. A very simple to use but useful tool, providing examples also on how to extract this information from ordinary mobile phones.

13:00 – 15:00

A simple use of IoT  

The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly present in our days, but we mostly ignore it. We will teach you how to bring the IoT into your classroom and explain with practical workshops on how your students can be conscious producers of information that can be shared with other communities in the world. We will introduce you to open source platforms, where you can compare the data of the air quality in your city with the pollution levels in cities from across the world, thus stimulating critical thinking and active citizenship in your students

Day 3

9:00 – 18:00

Cultural Day
We are presenting the opportunity for a group visit to Sintra as part of our cultural offering. Sintra is a charming Portuguese town situated within the cooling hills of the Serra de Sintra. Hidden among its majestic pine forest, you will discover whimsical palaces, extravagant villas and the ruins of a 10th-century Moorish castle. We will visit this UNESCO Heritage town, including its Museum and some of the most famous pastry shops. In the afternoon, we will continue with sightseeing and provide plenty of shopping opportunities. At the end of the day, we will return to our accommodation for dinner.

Day 4

8:30 – 9:00

Gathering and breakfast
Every morning we will offer morning breakfast to the participants in the working space.

9:00 – 12:00

Putting everything together  

Introduction to the Buinho CitySense Pad. The Ysense Pad was an original creation of Buinho for the Youth Sensing Erasmus project and it is a simple but clever way to make pollution sensing (of different types) become mobile, and enabling the students to make an outdoor and real-time collection of data, record that data, and even interview persons that can be approached in the surroundings. You will learn on how to assemble and work with the CitySense Pad, as this is a great and useful low cost tool to be used in the classroom in the teaching of citizen sensing, electronics, coding, and IoT.

We will also teach you a working methodology for the gamification of the learning, and that you will put into practice in the outdoor activity

13:00 – 15:00

Group project – Using the Buinho CitySense Pad

After lunch, the participants will be divided in pairs and will play a game in the city developed by Buinho. In one hour participants will record the different degrees of air and noise quality in different quadrants of the city, following the same parameters, while developing some fun activities. The data will then be compiled and the results discussed within the group.

Day 5

10:00 – 12:00

Brunch in Carcavelos Beach

Enjoying the best ocean view, and on the largest beach of the Lisbon Metropolitan area, Buinho organized a final morning brunch to commemorate the end of the training. It will also be an opportunity to further discuss, and in an informal environment, the next steps when returning to the school.


Since all of our students will have access to our free online content (which include video tutorials, explanations, activities, and useful work documents), we will also provide the basic information on how to use after this course.  


Finally, we will have an opportunity to present other Erasmus courses offered by Buinho, deliver the final certificates to all participants, and take a group photo.