Review by Melissa Powers, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019
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Robo Code

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Modular robot encourages creativity with endless possibilities

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–8
Great for:
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Pros: The visual programming interface is great for young students learning the basics of coding.

Cons: Hardware is difficult to disassemble and may not be sturdy enough for regular classroom use; lacks in-app support.

Bottom Line: Robo Code is an interactive, playful way to teach coding and build problem-solving skills in young learners.

The Robo Code app and Robo Wunderkind curriculum encourage teachers to integrate the robotics kit into a variety of subjects. In addition to explicitly teaching programming concepts like sequencing, loops, and conditions, lessons incorporate storytelling, arithmetic, science, and art. For example, students can create a story in which the robot is a character. Using motion, lights, sounds, and Lego pieces, students can make the robot look and act like an animal or imaginary creature. Students can create a toy town or an obstacle course and build and program a robot to navigate the space. Using the distance sensor that comes with the education kit, or the light and motion sensors that are available in the Advanced accessory kit, students can even build data-gathering tools to use in scientific observations.

The Robo Code app doesn't use student accounts or connection codes; you can connect to any robot nearby. Plus, students can write programs without being connected to a robot. This is great for classrooms with more students/devices than robots, allowing multiple students to write programs while waiting for their turn with the robot kit.

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Robo Code is an app that integrates with the Robo Wunderkind robotics kit. Robo Code is designed for grades 1-8 and uses a visual sequencing interface to program the Robo Wunderkind. Students snap together various hardware components including a light, switch, servo, or wheels. Then, using an interface similar to a flow chart, students create a program to control the robot. Robo Code includes a few modifiable samples such as a flashlight, an alarm, a car, and an obstacle avoider. All kits include Lego adaptor plates that enable students to customize their robots with Lego blocks. Robo Code connects via Bluetooth and works on iOS, Android, Chromebook, Fire, and Windows devices. Other apps for Robo Wunderkind include Robo Live, a direct control app for pre-K–1, and Robo Blocky for middle-grade programmers.

The Robo Wunderkind system is designed for creative, explorative learning. Most coding robots for elementary students only offer the ability to program existing hardware. Robo Wunderkind teaches hardware design (electrical connections, motors, output/input, etc.) plus coding. Unfortunately, this snap-together system also has some hardware challenges and a lack of in-app help. The pieces are incredibly hard to pull apart, requiring a pry tool that's difficult for young and old hands alike. The motor blocks break frequently. Tiny pins make the electrical connections between all pieces, and they're prone to losing contact. The company offers a one-year warranty, but teachers should carefully consider investing in a product that breaks easily. At $250 per robot, Robo Wunderkind Education is a significant monetary investment.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Students feel empowered to build and program unique robots with interchangeable hardware and flexible, intuitive software.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

The creative STEAM curriculum uses coding and robotics as tools for problem-solving while encouraging exploration and open-ended play.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Students and teachers will be easily frustrated with the lack of in-app support and troubleshooting tips.


Common Sense Reviewer
Melissa Powers Media specialist/librarian

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