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  1. This article describes a sensor-based physical computing system, called the Data Sensor Hub (DaSH), which enables students to process, analyze, and display data streams collected using a variety of sensors. The system is built around the portable and affordable BBC micro:bit microcontroller (expanded with the gator:bit), which students program using a visual, cloud-based programming environment intended for novices. Students connect a variety of sensors (measuring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, sound, acceleration, magnetism, etc.) and write programs to analyze and visualize the collected sensor data streams. The article also describes two instructional units intended for middle grade science classes that use this sensor-based system. These inquiry-oriented units engage students in designing the system to collect data from the world around them to investigate scientific phenomena of interest. The units are designed to help students develop the ability to meaningfully integrate computing as they engage in place-based learning activities while using tools that more closely approximate the practices of contemporary scientists as well as other STEM workers. Finally, the article articulates how the DaSH and units have elicited different kinds of teacher practices using student drawn modeling activities, facilitating debugging practices, and developing place-based science practices. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Engaging in physical computing activities involving both hard- ware and software provides a hands-on introduction to computer science. The move to remote learning for primary and secondary schools during the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19 made implementing physical computing activities especially challenging. However, it is important that these activities are not simply eliminated from the curriculum. This paper explores how a unit centered around students investigating how programmable sensors that can support data-driven scientific inquiry was collaboratively adapted for remote instruction. A case study of one teacher’s experience implementing the unit with a group of middle school students (ages 11 to 14) in her STEM elective class examines how her students could still engage in computational thinking practices around data and programming. The discussion includes both the challenges and unexpected affordances of engaging in physical computing activities remotely that emerged from her implementation. 
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