What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cargo-Bot is a puzzler designed to teach kids about programming. The concept is simple -- direct a robotic arm to move crates to a designated spot -- but young programmers will find the implementation quite challenging, and just like in coding, a working solution may not be the optimal solution. Scores depend on how concisely the program runs. Elementary-aged kids may need adult assistance at first.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- solving puzzles
- thinking critically
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
The straightforward challenge will engage kids, and the opportunity to make their programs better and achieve a higher score will keep them engaged.
The step-by-step logic that teaches kids to tackle a bigger problem by breaking it into steps will build better programmers and also help kids in many tasks and subject areas.
There is no hand-holding here, even in the hints. Kids are shown how to do a task, but they have to figure out how to apply the tools.
What's it about?
Kids write programs to control a robotic arm, having the robot move crates into the configuration shown on the top of the screen. Kids can work through a six-level tutorial first to get familiar with the controls and features (even the tutorial is challenging!). They can then move on to the five levels of play -- easy, medium, hard, crazy, and impossible -- with six puzzles each. The goal is not only to get the crates moved, but also to move them in as few programming steps as possible. A misstep crashes the crane into a wall, destroying it, but kids get unlimited changes to solve each puzzle and can replay them for a higher score.
Is it any good?
CARGO-BOT's challenge is addictive for all ages! Kids learn programming concepts as they figure out the most direct way to reach their goal of getting the crates in place. The beauty is that the game itself was developed using Codea, a programming language specifically designed for the iPad, so kids can see an example of what is possible -- and what they themselves can create -- using programming logic. With Cargo-Bot, kids learn a range of programming skills in a fun, challenging game.
Families can talk about...
Once kids have mastered the concepts, encourage them to write their own programs using tools available on the iPad, like Codea, or online, like Scratch.
Talk to kids about the importance of striving for the three-star scores and discuss their thoughts about when a lower score is acceptable.