Robot buddy on Mars

20 min

In this game, you get to choose between being a programmer and a robot. You will practice using computers' language to communicate and give instructions to solve a specific problem. The instructions need to be exact, complete and in the right order.  

Here, you'll get to try controlling a robot -  your buddy - along a path. 

Instruction to supervisors

The aim of the game is to get an understanding of commands and algorithms, and how giving exact instructions is very crucial when writing code.  

Material for downloading and printing: 

  • Mars themed game plan with floor cards (pdf, print on A4)

  • Command cards (pdf, print on A4 and cut apart until A5)
    The pdf with command cards includes doubles, that is double sets of command cards. Print a set of command cards for each group. 


  1. Divide the participants into groups (3-6 in each group). One of the participants will be the robot and the rest of the group should work together as programmers.

  2. Build a path using the numbered floor cards (0-10) according to the digital version of the exercise.

  3. Give the group a set of all the command cards except for the one that says "come up with your own command".

  4. Ask the groups to solve the task together - to get from the start position "0" to the end position "10". They should sort their command cards in the order that they'll give instructions to the robot during showtime. One command card can only be used once! 

  5. Each group gets to plan, test, and create their own program which is a sequence of commands by laying out their command cards in the order that they want. 

  6. Now it is show time where every group will control their robots by giving their commands. The programmers can read the sequences out loud, one command card at a time, and the robot will follow the instructions. Start on floor card "0". 

  7. Did everyone succeed in solving the task and getting from "0" to "10"? Did they have different approaches or did they all have the same solutions?


  • The robot should get from start position "0" to end position "10".

  • Programmerarna får bara använda vardera kommandokort en gång. The programmers are allowed to use the command cards one only.

  • The programmers don't necessarily have to use all the command cards. 

The commands

  • Move forward 1 steps

  • Move forward 2 steps

  • Move forward 3 steps

  • Move forward 4 steps

  • Go backward 1 step

  • Turn left

  • Turn right

  • Turn opposite direction

Increase the level of difficulty 

When everyone has completed the task, you can make it more difficult by taking away the command card that says "Move forward 1 step". Let the groups solve the task again without this card!