Review by Kim Alessi, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2017

Made with Code

Enticing projects and inspiring videos offer anyone an intro to coding

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
4–12
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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Pros: Engaging coding projects, inspiring videos, and access to online community resources make coding relevant to tweens and teens.

Cons: Projects are relatively short and cap off after a few levels; beyond that, kids will benefit from other resources to further their coding skills.

Bottom Line: Solid intro to coding with diverse projects geared toward tween/teen girls; sets foundation to explore deeper level coding and logic activities.

Made with Code does a great job introducing kids to visual-based coding. Projects are relatively short, can be used for individual or group work, and are relevant to tween/teen interests. Consider the mentor videos as discussion points about opportunities in the tech industry; use Host a Party to inspire a whole-class coding challenge or for Hour of Code; collaborate with other projects in your area to build a network of young coders.

After completing a few projects, kids will be ready to apply their skills in other coding platforms such as Scratch, Code Avengers, Codemoji, or Codecademy. Many popular robotics kits run on Blockly code, too, so this website’s a great launching pad into the world of robotics.

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Google’s Made with Code aims to introduce girls to the world of coding through various resources including tutorials, videos, partner projects, and community connections. Tutorial projects use Blockly, a visual programming language where blocks fit together into logical sequences to complete a task. Choose from a dozen custom coding projects such as designing an avatar or GIFs, enabling a dance visualizer or music mixer, and more.

What makes this site stand out from others is its mentor videos and community resources. Inspiring videos showcase a diverse range of female coders from industries including robotics, fashion, public service, entertainment, and healthcare. These coding women defy gender stereotypes and model opportunities in a typically male-dominated field. Similarly, the Community and Resource pages showcase partnership projects created by teams of teen coders, as well as a searchable database of coding opportunities across the United States.

Made with Code teaches kids coding concepts like variables, modifiers, and sequences through relatable projects. The interface is familiar for coding/media design tools and consists of a layout window with tools, a work place, and a viewer panel. Creations are built in an x-y axis and kids can see variable changes in real time. So overall, it’s easy to use. The drag-and-drop, Blockly coding language breaks down programming concepts step by step and is very accommodating to beginners, as blocks must fit together for the code to run properly. Project goals are well-explained and sequenced into steps, so it’s also great for teaching logic. Once kids achieve mastery in Made for Code, they can apply their skill set to intermediate- and advanced-level coding tools.

Be sure to check out the mentor and peer videos for inspiring stories of how coding works in the world around us. Regardless of gender, Made with Code’s a great launching pad for any emerging coder.

Overall Rating

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

Rewarding activities let kids custom-code music, avatars, GIFs, and more. Mentor videos offer a broad view of coding to promote greater understanding and motivation.

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

Drag-and-drop, visually-based, Blockly coding language makes great entry point for beginners. Projects are diverse and learning transfers easily to higher-level coding.

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

There are clear instructions with each project, and some extra support is offered in pop-up windows and through Hint buttons. Leveling helps develop skills and mentor videos are inspiring.


Common Sense Reviewer
Kim Alessi Educational Technology Specialist

Teacher Reviews

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Patrick F. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Great variety to teach coding
This is a great variety of coding projects, and they add new ones often, which will reach a wide variety of students. Beware if you have older computers (and many schools do) as it will bog down your system and cause it to run hot after a while, sometimes resulting in crashes. Don't be afraid to use this with boys, the project page does not specify gender, even though this is supposed to be geared towards engaging girls in coding, as boys enjoy most of the projects equally.
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