A great app to teach students to code.
Community Review for Tynker: Coding Games for Kids
Tynker is a great app. Because it has different components it really can be used by a wide range of students. The app says from ages 9-11, but I can see a much younger student student completing some of the easier sections in the "Play" area. The "Create" section was engaging for my 12-13 year olds in my class. So it is more versatile than suggested.
In my opinion the "Create" section has a lot to offer if you are willing to put time and effort into teaching students how to use Blockly to animate the characters. You can integrate other content subjects through what the characters are doing if you are willing to be creative. Take the time to investigate the app and plan that awesome lesson. Don't just put it in front of the students without good planning. You will be happy you did.
How I Use It
I used this app with a group of 7th graders. I only used the create mode because the free version only allows you to complete a very simple activity in the "Play" area. The other activities are $1.99 each or $4.99 for all three. The "Create" section uses a form of Blockly to allow the user to build onto a program that has been started or create your own. There are many options and I had to keep my students focused on one activity.
I chose the "Story Telling" activity to integrate technology into ELA. Students had to tell the story with the cowboy and the zombie. Wow was that interesting! This kept my students engaged for a couple of days (two 40 minute periods). By the end of the second class, many students were ready to be done. Some students didn't want to put the effort into figuring out how to make the program work and many didn't want to tell a story. These students just wanted to make the characters move around and do things without any purpose.
Overall the students liked the app. If you had younger grades it would be worth the $4.99 to have the easier activities to use as a center for when students have completed classroom work.
You could differentiate by having some students complete some activities and letting the more advanced work on a create your own activity.