Calliope mini from 3rd grade onwards

We tried some other microcontrollers with elementary school students and in the end it was clear:
We need a board that the children can use without easily producing short circuits.
A board with which teachers and students can get started in the classroom without having to distribute and solder other small pieces.
A board that is loud and colorful. And last but not least, we also need the possibility that children and teachers can bring the Calliope mini to life with a user-friendly programming language.

This led us to the star shape and the many components on the Calliope mini.

Purchasing the Calliope mini

The Calliope mini is currently available as a starter kit and classroom set. You can find an overview of both product offers and different retailers here:

Current shops for Calliope mini

Tips for useful extensions to the Calliope mini can be found in our forum.

We have summarized information about Calliope mini, Calliope gGmbH and the mission that is driving the project in a flyer popup: yes.

All materials (hardware, software and accompanying materials) are published under the OER-friendly CC-BY or CC-BY-SA license so that they can be easily used in class or in courses, adapted to your own needs, or at best even extended.

Calliope mini in detail


The red lights are so-called LEDs. They form a 5x5 grid and can be controlled individually.
The single RGB LED underneath allows the display of countless other colours.
The yellow status light in the upper left corner indicates if anything is happening.

With the buttons A and B to the left and right of the red LEDs you can make entries. When you press a button, a circuit is closed. The board can see if only one or both buttons are pressed. A program allows you to control what happens when you press one or both buttons.
The RESET button allows you to reset the Calliope mini to the previously defined start state.

The combined component under button A contains a compass, a motion sensor and an acceleration sensor. With their help, the Calliope mini can detect in which direction and at which speed it is moving. Temperature and brightness can also be measured.

You can use the corners labeled "+" and "-" to connect a battery using clamps.
The pins labeled P0, P1, P2 and P3 on the Calliope mini allow you to easily connect sensors such as temperature or humidity sensors. P0 to P3 are also touch-sensitive, just like touchscreens.

The USB port at the top of your mini is the easiest way to transfer your own programs. Simply connect the board to your computer with a micro-USB cable and you're ready to go!

You don't feel like using cables or want to work with your mini away from the computer? No problem: Bluetooth lets you connect the board to a smartphone or tablet and transfer data. But it's also the other way around - the mini can trigger certain functions on your phone, just like you programmed it to. In addition, the minis can use this radio module to talk and exchange information with each other.

Speakers & Microphone
With the built-in speaker, you can play music or just make it beep - whatever your project needs. Use the microphone to measure the ambient volume.

The processor in the lower left corner of the mini combines all the features of your mini. It delivers enough processing power for all the ideas and projects you come up with - and much more!

Grove Connectors
Extension modules can be connected to the two connectors in order to measure e.g. light or color with the Calliope mini.

Motor connection
The Calliope mini has a motor connector for two motors (accessible via the pin row with the six pins). This allows the board to be quickly transformed into a robot or a self-propelled car.