Don’t you love when something that students love to use is also educational? Well, my personal third grader was certainly tickled when I gave him an opportunity to “play” with this super fun learning resource Code Car!
Honestly, it isn’t just for kids! I know a little bit of coding, but not as much as this “beginner” activity. I am definitely going to be sitting down and doing the lessons with him too. I love to learn new things myself as well.
So what is Code Car? It is a little computer board that has audio and lights, which plugs in to your computer via the USB cord and by adding different pieces of code to it, you are able to make the “car” perform various functions, such as:
- Headlight On
- Brakelight Blink
- Flash Both Sirens
- Toggle Your Sirens
- Beep the Horn
- Car Tunes
- Brake Pedal
- Honk the Horn
- Honk the (Variable) Horn
- Rising Pitch Horn
- Siren Lights Button
- Siren Toggle Button
- Backup Alarm
- Headlight Switch
And for those that are a little more advanced (or way more advanced than me), there is a Hack the Code Car option to really dig in to customizing the code for the car. Pretty awesome, right?
Setting it up was super easy: download the software from their website, plug in the car, and open the program. Each easy lesson includes:
- an Introduction as to what the car will do when you are successful in installing the code
- the actual Code in a code box so students can install it right away to see what it does, but most importantly they are able to start “reading” and deciphering how the language of coding works
- Tutorial Videos for reading the code
- Challenges that have the students applying their new knowledge about that particular piece of code
- Concepts which explain more in-depth what they are really learning
- and a super short Quiz which tests how well they learned it (we’re talking a 2-question multiple choice quiz so nothing students will panic over)
The box include all the pieces, including the retractable cable and code reference cards. I love that the lid snaps shut so the pieces are all contained – plus it is small enough you could easily fit an entire class set into 1-2 plastic shoeboxes.
Needless to say, Code Car was a hit with my third grader. He was almost late getting to school because he was having fun learning with the lessons and begged me to use it again tonight INSTEAD of playing video games for his 30 minute allotment!
If that’s not a testimonial, I am not sure what is – ha! In fact, as he was using the first code lesson, he decided to see what would happen if he added something into the code. Well, it “broke” because the code was not set up correctly any longer. I imagine MOST kids will also want to do this instinctively to see what happens.
The best part of watching him was noticing he immediately then took a look at the code again – and even played the tutorial video – to try and figure out how to make it work correctly again. Watching the problem-solving skills is something educators strive to see as much as possible. It was almost magical.
I know Code Car would be a wonderful gift for any child maybe third grade and up who has access to a computer to be able to use the tutorials. It would also be fantastic for classrooms!
Coding is already a high-demand skill and learning the “language” can be like learning any other foreign language. If we can teach our children the basics of how computer coding is read, then they have a head start on being more interested in those technology jobs that will become even more commonplace as the demand for technology continues to grow.
This would be a wonderful suggestion for a Donor’s Choose project or a request for funds from a local tech company who could use it as a tax write-off for their business.
Have fun coding!