Cargo-Bot

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Cargo-Bot App Poster Image
Challenging puzzler teaches kids to think like programmers.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

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.

Ease of Play

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

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What 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.

User Reviews

Adult Written byKari S. April 5, 2017

Cute, but teaches questionable programming habits

I downloaded this app after teachers at my school were talking about using it with students to teach coding. My husband and I both have Computer Science backgr... Continue reading

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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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love engineering and tech creation

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