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The Furnace Bots | Think Like A Coder, Ep 3


TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

This is episode 3 of our animated series “Think Like A Coder.” This 10-episode narrative follows a girl, Ethic, and her robot companion, Hedge, as they attempt to save the world. The two embark on a quest to collect three artifacts and must solve their way through a series of programming puzzles.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

There’s a robot army, all of which are labelled with a randomized 4 digit serial code. No two robots have the same number. Each robot gets its instructions from its mother robot-- the robot that created it. Inside each one’s mouth is a serial code that tells you the name of its mother.

You have a friendly bot companion who can hop from robot to robot and look in their mouth. It needs to find the first, great great great...grandmother robot whose instructions trickle down to everyone else, and implant a virus that will allow you to take over.

How do you program it to find the first robot?

Main concept: Variables resource: YouTube video on variables ( has great resources for students and teachers. It also includes an extensive curriculum mapped to K-12 curriculum standards (

If you’re looking for programming challenges, check out the Advent of Code, which is run by Eric Wastl, who consulted extensively on Think Like a Coder and inspired quite a few of the puzzles. The Advent of Code is a yearly event that takes place in December and involves 25 coding challenges linked together by an overarching plot. It’s also available throughout the rest of the year, and the challenges it features are a great way to stretch your coding and problem-solving skills once you have basic proficiency with a programming language.

FreeCodeCamp ( has thousands of coding lessons and programming challenges, and you can even get certified for a few different skills.

University of Michigan's Python for Everybody Specialization on Coursera ( is a beginner-level intro to software development using python that focuses on interacting with data.

Microsoft has a 44 video series called Python for Beginners. In their words, “Even though we won’t cover everything there is to know about Python in the course, we want to make sure we give you the foundation on programming in Python, starting from common everyday code and scenarios. At the end of the course, you’ll be able to go and learn on your own, for example with docs, tutorials, or books.”

If you’re trying to decide what programming language to learn, a flowchart like this one may be a helpful starting point.

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, is an excellent introduction for programmers just getting started.

For more experienced programmers, Cracking the Coding Interview is a great resource for problem solving with a variety of different techniques, as well as preparing for coding interviews (as the title suggests). Some of the puzzles featured in Think Like a Coder were inspired by this book.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Animator Tolga Yıldız
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Producer Serin İnan
  • CG Supervisor Saman Khorram
  • Concept and Character Design Ali Anılır, İbrahim Hakkı Uslu
  • 2D Motion Design Sena Celebi
  • Modeling Hür Serhat Öz, Elif Kaya
  • Rigging Eda Gokce
  • Texturing Ali Anılır
  • Lighting and Shading Alperen Özgür
  • 3D Animation Gokhan Aslaner, Eyuphan Uslu
  • 2D Animation Tuncay Çetin
  • Music Tolga Yıldız
  • Sound Designer and Mixer Deniz Doğançay
  • Project Coordinator Gizem Tutumlu
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • Puzzle Consultant Eric Wastl
  • Special Thanks Sara Kladky

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