Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2015
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Path for Dash Robot

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Impressive intro to programming and robotics grows with students

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K-5
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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5 images

Pros: Delightful special effects engage and entertain.

Cons: Movement can be unpredictable, making matching the ground path with the screen iffy.

Bottom Line: Fun activities will hook kids; more advanced applications will continue to challenge them.

Students can learn programming logic and robotics working with Dash. Drawing the path with their fingers gives them a visual representation of the order that the events occur. Then they can drag the visual icon for each event into place in the program. The interface is kid-friendly and allows for any path to work. The biggest challenge for kids is predicting how the robot will move in the actual room as they complete the path on a screen, but even that is forgiving. If the robot encounters an obstacle, kids can move it and continue the program or start over. Teachers can find lesson plans for different content areas to integrate Dash into lessons, from writing about the robot's adventures to creating mathematical illustrations to completing scientific demonstrations.

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Path for Dash Robot is a free app that requires the Wonder Workshop robot Dash. The other companion robot, Dot, does not work with Path. Dash requires a device with a Bluetooth connection and must be connected to the app each time kids play, often needing a few minutes for an update, as well. This update can take up to 10 minutes, so teachers will need to check before starting an activity involving the robots.

Kids work through three scenes -- a racetrack, a farm, and a city -- completing puzzles that unlock different special effects. Dash follows the path drawn on the screen and makes effects as instructed. Kids program (which in this case only involves dragging an icon into the correct order on the path) Dash to complete the given path to unlock the next one. Once unlocked, special effects such as siren and animal sounds, spinning out in an oil slick, flashing lights, and dozens more, can be used in original programs kids write for Dash in any of the scenes or on a blank page.

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Path makes programming logic fun and tangible for kids as they program paths for a robot and experience the lighting and sound effects. Kids can quickly and easily progress through the scenes in Path, unlocking dozens of special effects that they can then use to create their own programs. Though each scene has tracks, roads, or trails visible on the screen, kids don't have to stay on those paths when they draw lines for Dash. The important part is putting the commands in the given order. Once kids have mastered that, they can create all kinds of fun paths for Dash to follow. The actual path on the ground that Dash follows may have obstacles that aren't on the path on the device, but that's not a problem. If Dash gets stuck, kids can choose to push through the obstacle or to reset the path and start again. Kids can actually pick Dash up and move him and then select Push to continue as well.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Special effects such as a spinning tornado and a ringing doorbell are exciting for kids to control and fun to see come to life through the robot. There's plenty of variety to give kids lots of options for plenty of learning and play.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The path gives kids a visual progression to follow that helps them understand the step-by-step logic of programming. Seeing it all acted out by the robot reinforces the importance of each command.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Though it's all very intuitive, there's no in-app help or instruction. Teachers can subscribe to find lesson plans (some are free, but many require a paid monthly subscription).


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jami O. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Deshler Elementary School
Deshler, NE
Takes My Kindergarten Class to the Next Level in Robotics

The Path app for Dash has been a great addition to my Kindergarten classroom. I love watching my students work together to problem solve! It enhances the skills they have learned with the Go app and is a great jumping point to get the students into the basic coding skills they learn in the Blockly app. The app is very easy to learn, but I will say it lacks in concrete directions. It is more of a trial by fire kind of thing; but in all honesty, we have probably learned more that way than we would have had we had a book full of step by step directions in front of us. I would highly recommend the addition of the Dash and Dot robots and their apps to any elementary classroom looking for ways to excite students in science.

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