Sandwich Robot for Computational Thinking: Reflections from testing with high school pupils
Our study discusses results from testing and co-designing Sandwich Robot, a game on algorithmic thinking targeting beginner programmers. The player composes code from a minimal set of blocks, to make a robotic character gather ingredients for a sandwich, following a specific order; the gameplay is similar to other Computational Thinking (CT) games like Karel the Robot or LightBot. The latest prototype of the game has been tested with three classes of 15-20 pupils from a technical high school in Denmark. The test was conducted in collaboration with their teacher in the subject Informatik, which focuses on CT and basic programming, and ended with a co-design workshop.
Our results shows that pupils were interest in the basic concept behind our game, they generally described our game as “fun”. Pupils and their teacher saw learning potential in the game, as a tool for understanding algorithmic thinking, but also for refining their learning at later stages. This expanded the role we envisioned for our game, leading us to rethink its relation to the pupils’ learning process. On-going and future work involves addressing pupils’ feedback and providing a level editor to allow Kahoot-style challenges. Our main contribution provides an exemplar of how the thinking behind algorithmic problem-solving can be transposed into game mechanics, embodied in a casual game, and how a non-technical narrative can support beginners learning CT.