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Frozen - Code.org
SCREENSHOTS

Frozen - Code.org

10/2/2015

FREE

Kids learn how to code by programming Frozen's Elsa and Anna to skate patterns on the ice.
The Bottom Line
A fabulous way to engage little girls (and boys) in learning to code.

Overview

If you have a Frozen movie fan in your household, head on over to code.org to explore 20 free programming puzzles showcasing Elsa and Anna creating patterns on the ice. Generated in collaboration with Disney for the Hour of Code initiative, these winter wonderland puzzles start with an inspiring video where women coders explain why learning to code is important and helpful. Kids can explore these puzzles for free on modern browsers and tablets.

How It Teaches Coding

The puzzles introduce a visual language called "Blockly" that lets kids snap together blocks of commands to create a program. For example, budding programmers will create a program that uses the "move" and "turn" blocks to get Elsa to skate a 90 degree turn; and then they will extend that learning into having her create a square. Within the 20 puzzles, kids will also learn about programming other geometric shapes, using the jump block, and programming more efficiently by using loops. If interested, kids can toggle from the Blockly language to discover what the commands look like in the JavaScript programming language.

Why This Coding Experience is Good

Frozen - Code.org starts with players learning to program simple geometric shapes on the ice and then moves into more complex snowflake designs. Since kids are playing with beloved characters from Frozen, the result of their programming is exciting because they are animating Elsa and Anna. Plus they can share their ice drawings with others.

Each puzzle’s goal is explained by one of the Arendelle princesses, and they also provide hints when the player is struggling. Many of the puzzles build on what the child has learned, and thus kids frequently find code they have already created in a previous puzzle (such as a square) appearing in the workspace so they don’t have to reprogram it. And the progression through the puzzles is just right for players in the targeted age of 8-up. We were also impressed that kids can read the materials in multiple languages.

At the beginning, kids see a video showcasing famous people (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and others) and real programmers representing the whose-who in tech companies. These adults explain why they like to program and why programming is important in the digital world. Then, sprinkled throughout this puzzle experience, additional video tutorials appear. In Puzzle 4, kids learn about loops from Microsoft engineer Paola Mejia. She shows players how to use the “repeat” block to program a square. Polyvore CEO Jess Lee joins NBA All Star Chris Bosh to explain Functions before they appear in Puzzle 14. The use of real, racially diverse people -- the majority of whom are female engineers or executives -- sends a powerful message to all children about how anyone can learn to code.

Best For

Frozen - Code.org is a nifty set of puzzles to start kids down the path to coding. By using the appeal of the Frozen characters and professional women in the tech industry to motivate kids to learn to code, this set of 20 puzzles is a winner. It is a coding experience that will particularly resonate with girls.
This Frozen - Code.org website review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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Frozen - Code.org
Released: 11/19/2014
Company: Code.org
Price: FREE
Platforms: Mac
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