Saving Sea Creatures: Light-up Fishing Nets

Learn about the problem of bycatch and prototype a solution using micro:bit.

Grades 3-12 60 min Resource by:

When fishers pull up their nets, they are often surprised by what they find trapped inside. In this lesson, students will learn about the problem of bycatch (unwanted fish and other marine creatures trapped by commercial fishing nets), the impact it has on the environment, and potential solutions, before creating a prototype of a light-up fishing net using micro:bit. Saving Sea Creatures: Light-Up Fishing Nets is the product of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the problem of bycatch and its impact on marine ecosystems.
  • Identify possible solutions to the problem.
  • Learn how inputs (sensors) and outputs (light and sound) of the micro:bit can be used to design and make prototype solutions.

What You’ll Need


  • micro:bit or MakeCode simulator
  • MakeCode or Python editor


  • Exploration
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity

Many unintended fish and marine creatures are being killed by commercial fishing nets every day. In this lesson, students will develop their understanding around what bycatch is and use computational thinking to come up with and prototype a solution to the problem.

  • What are the impacts of bycatch?
  • How might LED nets help reduce bycatch?
  • How might sound be used to keep unintended species out of a fisher’s net?
  • How might we use conditionals to prototype a solution with a micro:bit?

For Students

  • What might be other ways to use computer science to help prevent bycatch?
  • How might you iterate upon your prototype and make it even better?

For Teachers

  • Give students some fish netting and other materials to work out how to attach the light to the net.
  • Use the algorithm and example program as a starting point and ask students to improve the prototype.
  • Encourage students to create their own prototype algorithm and program, without referencing the example program.
  • Let students create their own prototype for addressing bycatch.
  • Explore fun and engaging activities to bring computer science to life for your students with additional lessons from micro:bit.