By Mary Ryerse & Luke Ryerse
When a new coding product is released, we can’t help but be intrigued. If you’ve followed us over the past year-and-a-half, you may have seen we’ve written previous blogs about our experiences with coding a car and a fishing tackle base kit. Fast forward to today and the latest products to spark our interest from electronic coding kit maker Let’s Start Coding are the newly launched Code Rocket and Code Piano.
When we heard Let’s Start Coding had new offerings it was a no-brainer to decide to give them a try. Speaking as a mom (see more in “Mom’s Perspective”), I have probably learned more about coding language from this particular line of products than any others we’ve tried.
About the Newest Let’s Start Coding Offerings
Here are the two new products we tried:
|Code Rocket||Code Piano|
The Code Rocket has 8 programmable LED lights, a speaker and 2 buttons. With access to the free software, coders can explore the rocket’s various lighting, blasting and Morse code functions, while building skills in using C++ coding language.
The Code Piano comes with 8 programmable buttons and a mini speaker. With the included software, coders can complete sound- and music-oriented tasks such as pitch tuning, DJ sound effects, siren, Morse code beep, random tone generation, and use a classic 8-note piano.
What Luke Had to Say: Fun to Use
Code Rocket is a coding kit that can be used as a coding toy. But it can also be used to make more advanced things happen like blinking lights and sounds.
What I thought about Code Rocket and Code Piano:
- They are easy to set up and use.
- They range from being easy to being as difficult as morse coding.
- Using them is a fun way to become adept in the coding world.
- Any age person can use the Code Rocket or Code Piano.
- I really liked how my Code Rocket experiment made me want to learn about Hertz so I did some extra exploring online because I found the sound part interesting. It also helped that one of my teachers taught us about Hertz one day in class so I had a little bit of background about Hertz.
- I like the Code Rocket better than the Code Car because it stands up.
- I liked how I could experiment with the code itself and you could especially tell you changed the code when it was uploaded to the piano.
- One thing that was annoying was that we had to plug it in each time we uploaded new code, but everything else was really cool.
I think the company has done a good job finding other ways to keep kids interested. The experience is similar across the different shapes and styles which makes it easier.
What Mom Had to Say: LSC is Building Upon Success
Having enjoyed several Let’s Start Coding products in the past, It was crystal clear to me that the Let’s Start Coding team has listened to feedback and made continuous improvements.
Knowing the Let’s Start Coding team had talked to kids, parents, and teachers, I asked for more info behind the new focus.
I asked my contact Weston and he said, “To get kids excited about coding, we need to mesh with their interests. We share a belief that combining play and learning is the best way to get more kids exploring computer programming.”
Do you like action-oriented stories and language? I noticed “rocket language” and actions such as powering up laser blasters, firing boosters and sending Morse code. This terminology matches with upper elementary age’s love of a storytelling and action focus.
Do you hear what I hear? In response to feedback from parents and teachers that kids and students are interested in and enthusiastic about making sounds – music – with code, Let’s Start Coding created Code Piano, with the dual goal of providing more content for those already interested in music coding and sparking coding interest in music-minded kids.
Where to Start
- Get your Code Kit. The kits (any many others including base kits and kit bundle options) are available at Let’s Start Coding or on Amazon. The cost is $44.99 for the rocket kit and $34.99 for the piano kit.
- Watch a video to get oriented. Short and sweet videos with upbeat music give a feel for how the process will work. Here’s a sample video of the Code Piano
- Set up your computer. There is an “easy enough” guided process to install a plug-in app on your computer and be ready to roll.
- Pick a lesson and get hands on. There are dozens of projects to pursue on LetsStartCoding.com and each of them easily guides you through the process so you can concurrently work on the screen and tinker with the rocket, piano or whatever.
- Write the code. One of the best parts about this code kit is that there is pre-written code provided, yet there are opportunities to modify and edit the code so that it feels like “writing it from scratch” (without the headaches). There are videos that help.
- Step up to the challenge. Each activity includes a challenge. This was definitely worth the extra couple of minutes to extend the project. We added a music challenge, which was awesome! More in “Mom’s Perspective.”
In summary, these are awesome electronic toys and kits and I love how they help kids around ages manipulate real, typed computer code (not just blocks). We also like the software and videos that go with it. Luke wonders if a sports theme is next?
For more fun activities to do with your kids, check out:
- Smart Review | Code Car Kit by Let’s Start Coding
- Smart Review | Let’s Start Coding
- Smart Review | SAM Labs Inventor Kit
- Smart Review | Education App Gets Kids AND Parents Engaged in Learning
A sample product was provided to the author for this review. If you are interested in having GettingSmart.com review your innovative product or book, please contact Editor@GettingSmart.com. Kits are used in homes, schools, camps, and clubs around the world and can be purchased at retailers, on Amazon, or at www.letsstartcoding.com.
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