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Use Cargo-Bot to bring STEM into the classroom. Have a programmer talk to kids about careers in computer programming, the importance of each step of the coding process, and how the game relates. 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.Continue reading Show less
Cargo-Bot is a tough game where kids write programs to control a robotic arm, making the robot move crates into the configuration shown at 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 can be 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 to move them in as few programming steps as possible. A misstep crashes the crane into a wall, destroying it, but kids get unlimited chances to solve each puzzle and can replay for a higher score.
The concept is simple: Direct a robotic arm to move crates to a designated spot. But young programmers will still find the implementation quite challenging. And just like in coding, a working solution may not be the optimal one. Scores depend on how concisely the program runs. Since kids can replay each level, they are empowered to take chances and to try multiple solutions -- even when they've had a successful one -- to find the best solution. Cargo-Bot encourages the kind of innovative thinking necessary for building programming skills.
As kids drag and drop directions into place to make the robotic arm move, they'll learn the gist of programming concepts like procedural abstraction, subroutines, looping constructs, and conditional programming, all without having to master the lingo or detailed syntax of code. Kids will practice tackling a big problem by breaking it down into smaller steps, a foundation of writing good code.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.