Lightbot is an addictively fun puzzle game that is the perfect platform for introducing programming concepts to your students. Using sequential commands, students create simple programs to direct their Lightbot (Girlbot or Boybot) through a 3-dimensional grid on their mission to ‘light up’ the world of tiles. With no explicit coding required and a fun and tactile interface, Lightbot is an excellent starting point to get your class on the path to programming.
Pricing: $2.99 / Free (Hour of Code)
Compatibility: iOS / Android
Access: No signup required
A Quick Look
1. Try the desktop demo!
Before paying for the app or even installing the free version on your device, you can test it out on your desktop machine. A Flash version of the app was created for the Hour of Code and can be launched in a click and is completely free. Give it a go but do be aware that this demo will not play on mobile devices.
2. An option for younger students (ages 4-8)
While the original Lightbot app is an excellent introduction to programming concepts for students, it could be a little advanced for some of your younger wannabe coders. Lightbot Jr. is an easier version of the game, with a gentler learning curve and not-too-complex puzzles.
3. Programming logic
Once your students are playing and having fun with Lightbot, try using it as a launch pad to discuss some deeper programming concepts. Try introducing some of the theory behind the code, such as conditional statements and recursion to see how your students link and connect these concepts to the game.
4. Hour of Code
While the Hour of Code is officially a yearly event, it does not mean you can’t take advantage of the resources to run an Hour of Code session whenever it suits you. Setting aside and planning one hour to explore programming with your class is a powerful way to test the waters and a fun way to build anticipation for the event.
5. Coding with paper
Don’t have access to devices? Want to try something engaging and different? Coding with paper can be an even more meaningful way to introduce and cement programming concepts with your students. Try out some coding with paper exercises or get creative and have students design their own paper-games based on their experiences with Lightbot.
Links and Next Steps
- Free versions of Lightbot – Created for the Hour of Code
- Lightbot Resources – Lesson plans and more
- Hour of Code Resources – Class coding resources to explore
- How does Lightbot teach programming?
- Four Year Old Playing Lightbot – Video (2 min)
- 54 Resources for Teachers Exploring Programming
Feature image adapted from image courtesy of Flickr, davedehetre.