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CODE Robot Repair

Lower Age: 8+
Price: $14.99
Year Added: 2017

Robot Repair is the third game in Thinkfun’s CODE programming game series, developed together with NASA programmer Mark Engelberg. The game is unique as it teaches children age eight and up one of the fundamental concepts of programming through a “screen-free” and “unplugged” platform. Robot Repair introduces players to Boolean logic, from simple logic gates like “OR” (true if either input is true) to advanced ones like “NAND” (false only if both inputs are true). The kit comes with four Game/Circuit Boards with drawn colorful wires and numbered nodes, a variety of double-sided tokens made out of hard cardboard (Power Cell tokens turn wires on and off; TRUE/FALSE tokens are helpful in keeping track of the state of wires of a Circuit Board on a Challenge Card). The included Challenge Booklet offers 40 challenges (beginner to expert) with clues about the placement of Power Cells on Circuit Boards. The goal of the game, or the problem the game poses, is to repair the Robots (users) by reprogramming their Power Cells for a client, the Robot Shop. Challenge Cards with visual clues encourage children to make observations and generate ideas about the placement of Power Cells on the Circuit Board. The game combines the processes of creating and testing the prototype, as the player goes back and forth between Challenge Card and Circuit Board. A player wins when the overall Challenge Card becomes “TRUE” (criterion; the kit also comes with the Solution Booklet to check the answers). Challenge Cards constrain players by the number of Power Cells that can be on. If Challenge Card isn’t “TRUE,” a player needs to debug his/her circuit prototype. In addition to coding and computational thinking skills, this game has children practice critical and logical thinking, problem solving, and perseverance.



Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Define a problem, make observations, idea generation, create a prototype or process, test the solution, analyze a solution, make improvements to their solution, recognize patterns, optimize their solution

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, a user, criteria, constraints

Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Coding, computational thinking, critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning, problem solving, perseverance, logical thinking



Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I like this game, because it was complicated. It was especially fun, because I like making things.” M, 10
      • “I especially liked the challenge of the game.” M, 8
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “This game was challenging and required thought. I like that it helped children with logic skills.”
      • “This game was challenging and fun from the beginning. The instructions are well written. I appreciated the "sample" they walked us through to get started. None of us had ever done anything coding related before, and we feel that we learned a lot!”
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I like that the Challenge Booklet provides clues that require a child to make observations and come up with a prototype.”
      • “I think this game explicitly targets coding skills and perseverance as children try to find the right solutions to the problem.”