CodeSnaps: A New Way to Code!


Some people think that K-12 computer science requires a large budget, a classroom full of tablets and robots, and an experienced tech teacher. We are pleased to dispel those myths--and introduce you to CodeSnaps!
cs_socialtile_imageCodeSnaps is a collaborative coding environment requiring only one iPad and one robot. The app takes advantage of tangible, printed coding blocks, allowing students to prepare programs together on a shared work surface without a device. After students scan the blocks with the app, commands can be executed on the connected robot (
compatible robots include Sphero, Ollie, SPRK, and SPRK+).

SAS CodeSnaps Features

All you need is one iPad and one compatible robot (Sphero, Ollie, SPRK, and SPRK+). After downloading the free app, you can expect the following:

  • Printable coding blocks perfect for student collaboration (also available in Spanish).
  • An interface for scanning code blocks into the app.
  • A digital coding space for fine-tuning scanned code or starting from scratch.
  • Optional cloud storage through your free Curriculum Pathways account.
  • No internet required!

Try It Out

Looking for a fun coding lesson? Challenge students to work together in teams to navigate a Sphero robot through an obstacle course.

  1. Scanning CodeSnap blocks into the app.

    Scanning CodeSnaps blocks into the app.

    Download CodeSnaps for free from the App Store.

  2. Print off the CodeSnaps blocks.
  3. Calibrate your robot using the CodeSnaps app.
  4. Set up an obstacle course using materials in your classroom.
  5. Divide students into groups of three; assign each student one of three roles:
    • The Product Manager devises the steps necessary to navigate the obstacle course.
    • The Lead Coder oversees code development, using information from the Domain Expert.
    • The Tester runs the robot through the course, noting any errors (also known as bugs).
  6. Ask the Domain Experts to measure the course and write down any additional requirements for successfully completing the course (e.g., changing colors, turning).
    Scanned CodeSnap blocks and digital coding space.

    Scanned CodeSnaps blocks and digital coding space.

  7. Under the direction of the Lead Coder, challenge groups to use their CodeSnaps blocks to write a program to navigate the robot through the course.
  8. Using the CodeSnaps app, scan the program.
  9. With supervision from the Tester, run the code and jot down any bugs.
  10. Have groups debug their code and try again!

For additional teacher resources, coding across the curriculum, and #HourofCode lesson plans, visit our CodeSnaps page or view the materials in the app.


About Author

Lucy Kosturko

Lucy Shores Kosturko, PhD manages product development for SAS Institute's K-12 educational initiatives, a suite of cross-platform offerings promoting data literacy, artificial intelligence and computer science. After graduating with a B.A. in psychology and computer science from Rhodes College, she earned a M.S. in computer science and PhD in educational psychology from North Carolina State University. Lucy lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and two daughters.


    • Scott McQuiggan
      Scott McQuiggan on

      We love this question! Analytics are all around us, just not available in the code blocks to program connected robots with CodeSnaps.

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