What would you think of an app that provides a creative introduction to an important 21st century skill, challenges learners at many levels, and is an addictively, fun game? Did we also mention it was free? We think you will find all this and more with this clever app.
We think you'll love the app Cargo-Bot as much as we do.
Each puzzle starts out with a set of cargo boxes that are arranged on pallets. Your task is to program the "claw" to move cargo boxes from one pallet to another one, trying to match the goal for the game, which is a different configuration of boxes. The puzzles increase in complexity as the initial arrangement and final goal of the boxes varies.
You program your "claw" to pick up one box at a time using the following constructs:
- Simple sequential instructions
- Move the claw down
- Move left one spot
- Move right one spot
- Loop a set of instructions
- Use of different set of programming registers to create a loop of instructions
- Conditional modifiers
- Will only execute if the claw is holding a particular color of crate or no crate
If you need extra help, you can always ask for a "hint". Each puzzle has one hint to help you find the most effective solution.
After creating your program, you can watch the "claw" move according to your explicit directions either by
- Running the program from beginning to end
- Walking through it step-by-step at your own pace
If your program moves the boxes successfully to the final configuration, you have completed that puzzle and are awarded up to three stars based on the number of registers your program used. If your program fails, you watch your boxes, the claw, or both, come crashing down, leaving you with the option to modify your program and try again.
The app is broken up into six different levels, each with six unique puzzles.
Great introduction to understanding how basic programming instructions work.
Good use of time and money.
Challenging and fun at the same time.
Complexity increases as program progresses.
No ads, or location tracking, etc.
Has no reporting features to monitor student progress.
How techie do I need to be?
- Have young programmers save their solutions and share them with each other. Use these opportunities as a way to show multiple effective solutions
- The very first time you run this program, instructions pop up to help you learn the different programming controls that are available. It might be helpful to demonstrate each of these a few more times to first time programmers
- Learners could work in pairs, but this application is best in a one-to-one environment
- Has no reporting features to monitor student progress.
- Provides an extensive tutorial mode where learners can practice their skills before moving on
- Can record and share solutions by saving them to photos
- This app is difficult to determine age or grade range. It could appeal to a wide range of learners and abilities
- This is a single-user game. It does not support multiple users or logins
- The overall score (stars) given to solutions is solely based on the size of the program which may or may not be the least moves of the claw
- The hints that appear in the tutorials only appear the first time you play