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Coding Game for Critical Thinking Skills

Coding Game for Critical Thinking Skills post image

Thinking from a different perspective is a critical thinking skill that is essential for kids to learn computer coding. In fact, it is essential to many jobs. There are many ways to help kids develop the skill. Today we share a coding game we developed that can get you started on training kids the critical skill of thinking from a different perspective.

printable coding game teaching kids abstract logic thinking skills. Unplugged STEM activities for students to learn computer coding off screen.

Today’s game is an extension of the Hot Dog Coding Game. The story behind the game is the restaurant runs out of hog dogs. Jacob is asked to go to the hot dog store to buy more hot dogs. Since he doesn’t know how to get there, he calls friends for directions. The players’ task is to be the friend and give a good direction that Jacob can follow to get to the store. There are 4 friends at 4 different locations. Depending on the friend’s location, you can get different directions. This is where the game starts.

To play, kids need to give a good driving direction going from the restaurant to the hot dog store. Depending on the location of the friend, you will give different directions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Think from different perspectives
2. Anticipate all possible scenarios of a project
3. Learn Abstraction, a solution that is indifferent of factors of different scenarios, ie., a solution that can be used for all different scenarios

Questions to ask kids:
What caused the confusion and the different directions?
What can you do to avoid the differences?

Step 0. Download the coding game.
You can find the game at the bottom of this post. After you download the game, you can cut out the moving blocks for kids to use as code blocks to design their directions.

You are free to put the friend at any location on the game board. However, we have marked 4 locations on the game board to maximize the differences of the directions you can give.

Note: it is not just the location, the side you are facing also matters. When you are facing North, then West is your left; while you facing East, North is your left.

RELATED: Best Resources for Kids to Learn Computer Coding

Printable coding game for kids to learn abstract thinking skill, crucial for computer coding. Unplugged STEM activity for boys and girls learn to coding skills without computers.

Step 1. Build direction as someone at Location 1, using the coding blocks
Ask kids to use the coding blocks (Left Right Up Down and Numbers) to lay out the directions, assuming they are at Location 1, marked on the game board as L1. Remember L1 is NOT the starting point of the trip. The trip always starts from the restaurant.

After kids finish giving directions with the coding blocks, you can ask them to follow the direction, from the restaurant to the hot dog store. Does the direction lead them to the store? Or somewhere else?

If the direction leads them to a different place, ask kids check the direction, identify mistakes, and make necessary changes on codes.

If you have more than one child, after the kids finish the direction, you can ask them to pass the direction to a different child to execute the direction.

Make sure to keep the Direction given by L1 for future comparisons.

Step 2. Build direction as someone at Location 2 with Coding Blocks

Before moving on to the direction building from Location 2 perspective, ask kids if they think the coding will be the same as L1. If they answer NO, ask them the difference they anticipate.

Now repeat the process in Step 1.

After finishing executing the direction codes, ask kids compare the direction codes from L1 and L2.

Step 3. Build direction as someone at Location 3 with Coding Blocks.
Repeat the process in Step 2, except this time, doing it from Location 3.

It is important to ask kids think about the differences they anticipate before they start building direction codes. It is also important to compare the 3 sets of direction codes at the end of Step 3.

RELATED: 11 Fun Activities for Kids to Learn Coding Without Computers

Step 4. Find the Abstraction Solution
Ask kids if they can find a way to write codes so that no matter where you are, you always give the same code direction.

This is the process called Abstraction. It is the process to remove factors that differ the solutions based on different scenarios, so that one solution can work for all different scenarios.

When we write computer codes, we want to be able to see all different scenarios and cover all different perspectives. However, we also want to make our codes simple and short.

With this game, we can definitely write 4 sets of codes to cover all 4 scenarios, but it is much more efficient if we can find a way to use one set codes to cover all scenarios.

There are more than one ways for abstraction. One answer could be using South, North, East, West instead Left Right Up Down. Another answer could be to ask the friend to give directions like he/she is at the restaurant, instead of his/her own location.

Step 5. Design Code Direction Using the Abstraction Method.

Once kids pick one abstraction solution, ask them to put together the code direction with this new method. After they finish designing the codes, ask them execute the code direction from L4. If it doesn’t work, kids need find out which parts are wrong and correct the mistakes; If it works, test it on the other locations, one location at a time.

RELATED: 5 Crucial Coding Skills You can Teach Kids at Home without Computers

To conclude the activity,
1. It is important for a programmer or a coder to be able to anticipate all different scenarios and be able to think from all different perspectives for any project
2. A good coding project is one that covers all scenarios with the shortest possible code.
3. To achieve #2, programmers also need be good at Abstraction.

To Download the printable coding game:

Hot Dog Coding Game 2 for Abstract Thinking Skill

Also on TpT: Hot Dog Coding Game 2

Also: A Part of the Hot Dog Coding Game Series

Would you like to have more coding games and activities for kids? Join the DIY Coding Camp at Home. We have games specially designed for each of the essential skills, plus extension activity ideas. All games are printable at home, and you don’t need to know coding to help kids gain coding skills. You don’t even need a computer.

coding camp for kids at home

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Unplugged coding game for beginner kids to learn critical thinking skills. off-screen STEM activity for boys and girls learn important abstract skill for coding. No computer needed.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • please send the hotdog game for coding. Thank you.

    • Kath, to receive the game, please click on the green buttons and you will be led to the info for the game. Thanks!

  • TechyKids

    The fun game which you have shared to teach coding for kids seems really interesting. I think before educating kids about coding, it is much more important to develop the right amount of skills required for coding. Kids should improve their critical thinking as well as problem solving abilities. There are many ways like playing puzzle games or coding games like Hot Dog which you have shared will be a great choice for kids to promote their thinking abilities in a fun way. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful blog with us.

  • Bhavya

    Great article related coding.
    Coding games are very helpful for learning coding .

  • Hridya

    Thanks for sharing this post. Coding is really interesting. this post is really helpful.

  • Margaret Poska

    Please send me the free Coding Game for Critical Thinking. Thanks.

    • Margaret, you need sign up with the form in the post, fill in your email address, we can then send you the game. Thanks.

  • celine

    For a stem activity

  • Kim

    Love it!

  • Kirstin

    I requested the link and I never got an email. How can I access this file?

    • Kirstin, the first step is to check the spam folder, and then white list the email address. Please let me know if you don’t see it in your spam folder neither.

  • Dina afifi

    Would you give us an example for abstracting in this game!

    • Dina, it is talked in Step 4.

      • Maureen

        I don’t understand how your abstraction code can be the same for all locations. Can you show how this works? I understand the concept, but do not see how to actually do this.

        • If you define which side is North on the map, then use “South, North, East, West” in the code, instead of “left right up down”, then it doesn’t matter which side you are facing.
          Let me know if you have more questions.

  • Marnai Boose

    I have tried twice, but this one won’t send the link to download. Is there a catch? Thanks!

    • Marnai, thanks for letting me know. To help me understand what happened, would you tell me if you received the email for download link?

  • Lindsay

    I would like the coding game. Please!

    • Lindsay, you just need fill out the form right above the image for DIY Coding camp, which it is says “Free Coding Game for Critical Thinking”

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