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Code & Go® Robot Mouse Activity Set Activity Guide

Ages 4-9

American Printing House for the Blind

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Dear Parents & Educators:

Today's children are surrounded by technology like never before. Video games. Smart phones. Tablets. These are all forms of communication that impact your lives every single day. And what they have in common is that they all involve coding!

So what is coding?

Coding literally means the transformation of data into a form understandable by a computer-basically, telling a computer what you want it to do. Coding also factors into some everyday tasks that people perform without a second thought: for instance, programming a microwave to heat yesterday's leftovers, or entering numbers into a calculator in a specific order. Coding today may not always look like the routine programming of the past. It can be active, engaging, and most importantly, fun! Educators agree that an early introduction to basic programming concepts can help children build problem solving and critical thinking skills. This set provides that very introduction, giving early learners a fun, real-world application of these essential 21st-century skills.

What can using a programmable robot teach?

Pieces included:

Introducing Code & Go: Tips for Beginning Programmers

Start by providing a simple, guided introduction to the mouse: identify the color and function of each of the mouse’s buttons (see Basic Operation). Reinforce that the green button means go—it tells the mouse to perform an action. Set the mouse on the floor or a table. Let the child try moving the mouse forward, by pressing the blue arrow once and then the green button. Point out that the mouse moves forward in the direction its nose is pointing. Let the child explore the other directional arrows, one at a time. The right and left arrows make the mouse rotate, in place, 90 degrees in either direction. Remember there are seven buttons and each button has a color. To get a better understanding of the color, please associate these objects with each color. For the color Red, think of fire. For the color Blue, think of a sky. For the color Orange, think of an orange. For the color Yellow, think of a lemon. For the color Green, think of grass. For the color Purple, think of a grape.

Remember to press and hold the yellow button to clear the mouse’s memory after each command.

Otherwise, the mouse will remember previous commands and perform them along with new commands. Children need to see each movement in isolation. Pressing Clear before entering new steps will ensure that the mouse moves exactly as programmed.

Set up a maze and complete a programming sequence, as follows:

If the child easily grasps this concept (i.e., programs the mouse to match the coding string), try adding 1–2 more spaces between mouse and cheese, placing additional maze walls on the grid, or even integrating a turn for the mouse to make before reaching the cheese. At this age, multi-step sequences can be very difficult for young learners to remember, although the coding cards help. Begin with short series of moves, before gradually adding in turns and building different maze configurations. Most of all, keep it fun!

Basic Operation

Colby the Mouse is rounded on top and flat on the bottom. Let’s start with the bottom. The area on the bottom is flat but there are things that need to be known about the bottom. There are wheels on the left side and right side of the flat space. Up near the pointed part of Colby is a small roller ball. The wheels and the roller ball help Colby the Mouse move around the maze. Remember that Colby the Mouse has a rounded body. His tail end is rounded too. There is a raised area on the back end that is his tail. Colby’s front end slowly slants down to a point. The front end has two raised areas that are his ears. Between his ears are three tiny slots that is a speaker to hear the noises Colby makes. Further down are Colby’s eyes. Everything comes down to a point where his nose is. There are seven buttons on top of Colby the Mouse. When you press each button, Colby does something different. Each button on Colby's back has a color. There is a round button and surrounding it are four arrow-shaped buttons. Behind each mouse ear is an oval shaped button. The next part of Basic Operation will go over what the Power Switch can do and the purpose of each colored button that is on Colby the Mouse's back.

POWER - The Power Switch is on the bottom of the mouse near the tail. When the Power Switch slides over to the left, Colby the Mouse is off. When the Power Switch slides to the right, Colby is ready to be programmed!

SPEED - On the Power Switch, there are two speeds. When the Power Switch slides to the left it is OFF. When the Power Switch slides to the middle, Colby is on in Normal Mode. Colby will make a chirping sound. Slide the Power Switch all the way to the right and Colby is in Hyper Mode. Normal Mode is best for normal use on the maze board. Hyper Mode is best for playing with Colby on the ground or other surfaces.

FORWARD (Blue Arrow Button) - The FORWARD Button is the top blue arrow shaped button. Pressing the FORWARD Button moves Colby the Mouse forward one step. One step is equal to five inches (5") (12.5 cm).

REVERSE (Yellow Arrow Button) - The REVERSE Button is the bottom yellow arrow shaped button. Pressing the REVERSE Button moves Colby the Mouse in reverse or backward one step. One step is equal to five inches (5") (12.5 cm).

ROTATE RIGHT (Purple Arrow Button) - The purple arrow shaped button pointing to the right is the ROTATE RIGHT Arrow Button. When the ROTATE RIGHT Arrow Button is pressed, Colby the Mouse will turn to the right 90 degrees and stop.

ROTATE LEFT (Orange Arrow Button) - The orange arrow shaped button pointing to the left is the ROTATE LEFT Arrow Button. When the ROTATE LEFT Arrow Button is pressed, Colby the Mouse will turn to the left 90 degrees and stop.

ACTION (Red Oval-shaped Button) - When looking at the top of Colby the Mouse, there is a red oval shaped button behind his left ear. This is the ACTION Button. Every time the ACTION Button is pressed, Colby will do one of 3 RANDOM actions:

GO (Round Green Button) - The GO Button is the round green button in the middle of the four arrow-shaped buttons. Pressing the GO Button makes Colby the Mouse do your programmed steps, up to 40 steps!

CLEAR (Yellow Oval Shaped Button) - When looking at the top of Colby the Mouse, there is an yellow oval shaped button behind his right ear. This is the CLEAR Button. When you press the CLEAR Button, the mouse’s memory is cleared of all previous commands and you will hear a confirmation tone.

Important note: if the mouse begins to move off the programmed course, or if it fails to turn a full 90 degrees, this could be a sign of low battery power. Replace the old batteries as soon as possible to restore complete functionality. When the batteries are very low, the mouse will begin to beep and flash its eyes, and the GO button will be disabled. Replace the old batteries as soon as possible to restore complete functionality.

Please do not push the robot mouse forward or back with force. This can damage the wheels and break the axles inside.

Assembling the Grid

Connect all 16 grid pieces together to form one large square maze board-or make any configuration you can imagine!

Using the Maze Walls

Create a maze by inserting the walls into the lines on the board. Follow the patterns on the activity cards to re-create each maze. Then, program Colby to maneuver through the maze and to the cheese! Because the maze is customizable, children can build their own maze, try their hand at programming Colby from start to finish, or invite a friend to try the maze they created. For those aspiring engineers who want to build their own maze using items from home, Colby can also maneuver on most surfaces, independent of the maze.

Coding Cards

Colorful coding cards help you keep track of each step in a sequence. Each card features a direction or "step" to program into Colby. Cards are tactile and color-coordinated to match the buttons on the mouse. For ease of use, we recommend lining up each card, in sequence, to mirror each step in a program. For example, if a programmed sequence includes the steps FORWARD, FORWARD, TURN RIGHT, FORWARD, ACTION, place those cards in order to help follow and remember the sequence.

Activity Cards

This set also includes 20 Activity Cards featuring 20 mazes. These cards can be used as an educational tool to help young programmers “ramp up” their skills. Start out with Card 1 to learn the very basics, and follow in number sequence as your logic and critical thinking skills improve.

For all the mazes on the activity cards, the goal is to program your robot mouse to reach the cheese. Each of these mazes should be completed in the fewest steps possible. For mazes with tunnels, be sure to have Colby pass under each tunnel before reaching the cheese.


There are large plastic squares that serve as the maze board that the mouse moves on and the walls and tunnels are placed on. The squares can be joined together by using the tabs and slots on the edges of the squares to form the larger maze boards.




















Battery Information

Installing or Replacing Batteries

WARNING! To avoid battery leakage, please follow these instructions carefully.
Failure to follow these instructions can result in battery acid leakage that may cause burns, personal injury, and property damage.

Requires: 3 x 1.5V AAA batteries and a Phillips screwdriver

Battery Care and Maintenance Tips

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