My first attempt at this coding game was during my very first Maker Monday, and it went fine. For my homeschool group, I tightened things up, and it went way better than fine!
Once the majority of kids were there, we talked a little bit about coding and I explained the rules of our game. Each table had their own giant playing board, and enough pieces for 6 people. Playing card sized pieces let you move your frog forward, turn it clockwise or counterclockwise, or stick out its tongue to eat a frog!
The kids quickly divided up into like-age groups, and started playing. The younger kids had a grown up, and the ones that were interested actually got the game and were able to accomplish the goal (ie. get your frog to the gem in the center!). Not surprising, since this game is based on Robot Turtles, which is aimed at preschoolers. Still, I was really pleased with this outcome.
The older kids quickly zoomed through my levels, and that’s when the fun began. First, we didn’t have enough of the move forward blue arrow cards, so on the fly we learned about functions and wrote a number on the bottom of the cards with a whiteboard marker, so one arrow could stand for moving forward 7 times! It was great!
They got creative with placement of the pieces, to make it more challenging, and made up rules to fill in the gaps in the game: What happens if your frog runs into the edge of the board? What if you run into another frog? One team wanted to speed things up, and decided that the frogs’ tongues could stretch over 3 squares to eat a fly.