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Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set, 83 Pieces
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- This coding set for kids turns coding into a hands-on analog activity for tactile and visual learners
- As kids learn to program they build key skills that include critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing, and programming fundamentals
- Colby lights-up, makes sounds, and features 2 speeds along with colorful buttons to match coding cards for easy programming and sequencing
- This coding set includes 16 maze grids, 22 maze walls, 3 tunnels, 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided activity cards, cheese wedge, and activity guide to provide a hands-on introduction to coding concepts
- Included 16 maze grids create a 20" x 20" maze board and Colby the mouse measures 4"L and requires 3 AAA batteries (not included). Ideal for ages 5+
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From the manufacturer
Screen-Free Coding Fundamentals
Kids input up to 40 programmed coding commands to help their robot mouse navigate obstacles and find the cheese.
Guided Coding Activities
Kids can use the included coding cards to create a step-by-step path for their mouse to follow.
Multiple Maze Combinations
The set's 16 interlocking maze pieces are fully interchangeable, and can be built and rebuilt into numerous configurations.
A Fun Friendly Mouse
The set's lively robot mouse features interactive sound effects and two speeds suitable for both tabletop and floor play.
Set of 83 pieces includes 30 coding cards, 25 maze pieces, 16 grid pieces, 10 Activity Cards, 1 robot mouse, 1 cheese wedge, and Activity Guide. Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included).
Hands-on Stem Skills
Learning Resources offers a huge selection of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math toys. These toys help children problem-solve, communicate effectively, prepare for future success, and have fun at the same time!
Build your maze, and then use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for the Programmable Robot Mouse. Program the sequence of steps, and then watch the mouse race to find the cheese! This deluxe set includes 30 double-sided coding cards, 10 double-sided Activity Cards, cheese wedge, and Activity Guide to provide the perfect hands-on introduction to coding concepts. Create endless maze path possibilities with 16 maze grids, 22 maze walls, and 3 tunnels. Add multiple players with the Programmable Robot Mouse (LER 2841), sold separately. Mouse lights up, makes sounds, and features 2 speeds. Mouse measures 4"L and requires 3 AAA batteries (not included).
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This is a review of Learning Resources Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set.
I am a middle school math teacher who retired from programming mainframe computers. I have taught procedural programming languages like Fortran, COBOL, and BASIC. This past year I taught a graphics-based programming language, Scratch. Languages like Scratch and this activity set are good at getting kids interested in computer programming, or coding.
It seems that most kids today are much more interested in playing computer games than creating them, not surprisingly I guess. Eventually these kids will come to realize that, while nobody will pay them to play games, many good companies will pay them (handsomely) to create games and programs. This activity set introduces the idea of solving a problem with a well-thought-out, step-by-step approach. And kids will enjoy doing it because it is just fun.
Everyone knows that a mouse likes to find the cheese. That is the basis of this set. Ten activity cards, containing twenty problems, show the initial setup of each problem, including a maze where the mouse has to get to the cheese. He does that by being "programmed" by the player, which involves pressing colored buttons on the mouse that cause the mouse to move through the maze, making the correct turns at the correct times. The first step is to assemble the board from the 16 pieces; this is not hard to figure out. Then you place things on the board like walls and tunnels. Then you figure out the step-by-step path the mouse must take to get to the cheese, and you layout little programming cards from which you will actually program the mouse. Then you program the mouse and press the green GO button to start him on his course. If you have entered the steps correctly, the mouse will arrive at the cheese and make a noise. Congratulations!
There is one programmable move called "action". This will cause the mouse to randomly do one of three things, one of which is to move forward and backward. You must plan for this possibility, because if you don't the mouse might leave the board and will never get to the cheese. This makes kids think.
As others have mentioned, sometimes the mouse doesn't move in a truly straight line, but if you carefully align the mouse before you press the GO button, he will usually find the cheese (you might have to gently nudge him occasionally).
The ten activity cards are excellent for learning how the set works, but what will really challenge the kids is to create their own mazes and program the mouse to complete them.
This activity set teaches the value of a well-thought-out process for solving a problem using a step-by-step procedure. That's what real programmers do too. There is an old saying among air traffic controllers: make a plan and make it work. That's what this set teaches, and it is a great and valuable lesson to learn.
The instruction manual accompanying the set is very good; it says the set includes 22 walls, you actually get 40. You can program up to 40 steps into the mouse. You can also buy a second mouse (for about $25) that includes 30 additional programming step cards, which is nice because I ran out of programming step cards for some of the more complex mazes I created. You don't absolutely need the programming step cards to create a program, but I have found that they are very helpful.
For the money, this set is a great value and I know my students will find it fun while they learn the value of solving problems with a well-thought-out procedure.
The mouse itself is very cute; the commands are easy to implement.
I did take one star off for a couple of minor annoyances:
-- the mouse doesn't always precisely execute each turn, which means it may end up going off course. It's not so bad as to affect the algorithm unless you have many-many moves, but it means the mouse can run into the purple walls when there's a tight turn.
-- whenever the mouse finds "cheese", it stops executing instructions, even if it had a further sequence programmed. I can see why they made it this way, but it also makes it impossible to program the "go there, get the cheese and bring it back here" kind of programs.
-- kids need to remember to press "erase memory" in order to program a new sequence. I do understand this choice though -- otherwise there would be no memory at all if you think too long between adding new instructions, and that would be even more annoying.
On the plus side, this is one of those games where the "puzzles" are not limited by the number of instruction cards. It's very easy for a parent (or for a kid themselves) to make up their own puzzles.
Our youngest one just turned 3, and he's still struggling with the concept of programming the mouse, but he likes it and is definitely getting some idea. Our next oldest is 8, and she's already programming (in scratch and trying out python), so this is "too simple" for her, but the mouse is cute enough to keep both her attention and her 11 year old's brother, and make them interested in playing with their younger brother.
On a funny note, our youngest was actually quite hesitant about touching the mouse at first (he was a bit scared of it). And even now, when it's running, he makes sure to get out of the way.
You have to let the motor run the mouse. If you force the wheels like a regular toy car, the axel will break free of the wheels and the mouse goes around in circles rather than straight. If the mouse goes the wrong way, you have to teach the kids to PICK IT UP and then press the yellow button to stop it and clear the program.
Needless to say, a few of the mice got broken. I sent in the purchase information and the serial numbers of the broken mice and got replacement mice, under warranty, BY RETURN MAIL. It took all of three days. I was thrilled! I will continue buying STEM toys from Learning Resources.