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The Train Heist | Think Like A Coder, Ep 4

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  • TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

This is episode 4 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.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Rosenthal, Tolga Yildiz
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Producer Serin Inan
  • CG Director Saman Khorram
  • Concept and Character Design Ali Anilir, Ibrahim Hakkı Uslu
  • 2D Motion Design Sena Celebi
  • Modeling Hür Serhat Oz, Elif Kaya
  • Rigging Eda Gokce
  • Texturing Ali Anilir
  • Lighting and Shading Alperen Ozgur
  • 3D animation Eyuphan Uslu , Ece Gener
  • Compositor Gurkan Gurler
  • Music Tolga Yildiz
  • Sound design and Mixing Deniz Dogancay
  • 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
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
There’s a very long train that follows a series of instructions of L and R that tell it what to do. Whenever the instructions read L, it moves 1 car-length left on the track, and when it hits a R, it moves 1 car-length right.

There’s a claw that’s fixed in place that you your robot buddy can use to grab something off of a car. It needs to activate the claw the first time the train moves exactly 10 car left from where it starts. You only get one chance to use the claw, and if you miss the first time the train is in that position, the artifact will get unloaded.

You have to grab the goods off the train the first time it hits that position-- otherwise the goods will be lost forever.

You can’t access the series of + or - instructions, but your robot friend can. How do you program it to read those instructions and know exactly when to activate the claw?

Main concept: Variables, loops, conditionals synthesis
Code.org resource: Unplugged activity on conditionals

code.org (https://code.org) has great resources for students and teachers. It also includes an extensive curriculum mapped to K-12 curriculum standards (https://curriculum.code.org/csf-19/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 (https://www.freecodecamp.org) 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 (https://www.coursera.org/specializations/python) 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.

Books
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 Rosenthal, Tolga Yildiz
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Producer Serin Inan
  • CG Director Saman Khorram
  • Concept and Character Design Ali Anilir, Ibrahim Hakkı Uslu
  • 2D Motion Design Sena Celebi
  • Modeling Hür Serhat Oz, Elif Kaya
  • Rigging Eda Gokce
  • Texturing Ali Anilir
  • Lighting and Shading Alperen Ozgur
  • 3D animation Eyuphan Uslu , Ece Gener
  • Compositor Gurkan Gurler
  • Music Tolga Yildiz
  • Sound design and Mixing Deniz Dogancay
  • 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
  • See more