I received Code Rocket from Timberdoodle Co in exchange for my honest review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review nor would I ever promote or recommend a product my family doesn't find useful or beneficial. I used this product with my 13 year old rising 8th grader and my 10 year old rising 5th grader. Code Rocket is a part of Timberdoodles 5th Grade Curriculum Kit.
We were so excited to receive this product. Timberdoodle has always curated wonderful extras to create wonderful well rounded curriculum for kids of any age. This seemed like it would be a wonderful addition to our STEM/STEAM studies.
Code Rocket by Let’s Start Coding is a coding set intended for ages 8+. The set includes a rocket-shaped device to code, a stand, a USB cable, and eight double-sided coding cards. In order to use the Code Rocket, the user must download the Setup program from www.letsstartcoding.com and then select the “Code Rocket” option. This ensures that the user is coding for the correct device and that the code they are working with corresponds to their rocket.
The rocket is then connected via the USB cable to a computer, where it can then be programmed. The online learning program includes 21 different coding projects of varying difficulties, and introduces coding in a simple and easy way for younger users. These programs help the user understand exactly what each line of code represents and how that code produces reactions to the rocket, e.g. a light or a sound on the rocket turning on. Once the user understands what the code for a given project represents, they can then take on a challenge called a “Bug Hunt” where they are given lines of faulty code to fix. Because one incorrect letter/symbol can derail an entire program (those sneaky semicolons!), it can be frustrating for younger users to find the mistake, but this can help tp build up their perseverance in locating problems and fixing them. Working on problem solving skill is always a bonus right? There is also a few questions for them to answer based off what they learned.
This program is designed very similarly to real-world coding programs. This can be very beneficial. It will make the transition from a coding program to a professional coding program much easier. So for those future computer programmers this is a good launching off point. This toy can help foster an interest in computer programming, and also enhances their computational, critical, and creative thinking skills. Once the user understands the basic aspects of coding, they will be able to create their own code for the rocket. The problem solving aspect of this coding kit allows the user to employ iterative design, as if the code is not correctly inputted into the program it will not run. To find the problem, the user will have to analyze the solution, locate the faulty code, fix it, and run the program again to see if the problem was truly fixed.
The Code Rocket is an outstanding toy for fostering computation thinking, computer programming, and iterative design skills in young children.
In my household we were 50/50 on this toy. My son who loves coding while at first disappointed it wasn't a real rocket he could make go up in the air, really loved the challenges. My daughter who isn't big on rockets or coding wasn't a fan. She found the challenges very difficult. As it really can be just a semicolon, an uncapitalized letter, or an extra space in the wrong place and it doesn't work. Overall it is truly a very neat concept that can really prepare you child for real world coding and work on several computer skills they will need in our technology driven world.
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