Cargo-Bot

Common Sense Media says

Challenging puzzler teaches kids to think like programmers.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The controls are intuitive, and a tutorial walks kids through the commands. Mastery, though, is quite challenging!

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No personal information is requested, but there's no privacy policy in the app or on the developer's website to explain what, if any, data is collected.

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

Subjects

Math

  • functions

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • solving puzzles
  • thinking critically

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The straightforward challenge will engage kids, and the opportunity to make their programs better and achieve a higher score will keep them engaged.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • functions

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • solving puzzles
  • thinking critically

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn hands-on programming skills as they drag and drop directions into place to make the robotic arm move and do what they tell it to. They'll learn the gist of programming concepts like procedural abstraction, subroutines, looping constructs, and conditional programming without having to master the lingo or detailed syntax of code. Kids will practice tackling a big problem by breaking it down into smaller problems to solve, a foundation of writing good code. Cargo-Bot is a simple concept that packs a challenging punch and teaches valuable programming skills.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:May 8, 2012
Category:Educational Games
Size:6.30 MB
Publisher:Two Lives Left
Version:1.0.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

This review of Cargo-Bot was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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