Learn to Speak Robot logo
Image of robot waving

A free digital thinking challenge for children and young people

Key Dates


First Day of South Australian School Term 1 each year.
Schools & Home Schools need to register.
Individual children taking part outside of school do not need to register.
Find out how children can take part outside of school here.


Approximately mid August each year. 


Mid Sept each year (recommendation only)
Schools are advised to ask students to return their completed coding records to their Challenge Coordinator well in advance of the Challenge closing date, so that your Challenge Coordinator has plenty of time to submit your school’s Challenge Completion Form. This ensures students are eligible to win prizes for their school.


Last day of South Australian School Term 3 each year.


From mid October to the last day of Term 4 each year.

What is it?

Learn to Speak Robot is a free computational thinking challenge for school aged students.

Computational thinking is the process of breaking down a problem into simple steps that a computer can understand. It is the thinking used for coding and is fundamental to teaching children problem solving skills.

Learn to Speak Robot aligns with ACARAs Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Creating with ICT learning continuum.

Who can take part?

Learn to Speak Robot is recommended for students in years 2 to 8, but all students can learn to problem solve! If you are a preschool teacher, there is an unplugged device free resource designed especially for your students. Click here to access the Early Learner’s Pack.

How long do the activities take?

Depending upon the age of your students, each activity can take between 20 minutes and an hour to complete.

How do my students complete the Challenge?

Students need to complete four computational thinking activities to have met the Challenge. There are hundreds of activities to choose from. You can choose which activities will suit individual students or select challenges for your class level.  Alternatively you can let your students choose their own four activities.  Check out the Beginners Guide for some pre-selected activities if you’re unsure about what to choose.


  1.  Register your school to be eligible for prizes on offer. It is free and takes less than a minute to complete.
  2. Registering your school means you will be sent the Learn to Speak Robot information pack. Check your inbox (and junk folder) if you can’t see it in your inbox. It contains all the instructions, materials and forms you need.
  3. Now you’re ready to start the Challenge! Help your students choose any four activities on offer via this website and work through them together. You can run the Challenge in any way you like, as long as each student completes four activities.
  4. When your students have successfully completed all four activities they have met the Challenge, and can be included on your School’s Challenge Completion Form provided to you in the information pack. You complete this and submit it online along with the best testmonial quote from a student who participated in the Challenge. You need to submit your Challenge Completion Form before the end of Term 3.
  5. The Commissioner assesses all Schools who entered and determines the overall prize winners. Schools are notified of any prizes won by their students before the end of Term 4.

The Challenge Activities

Are you or your students already familiar with computational thinking? Great! Explore hundreds of computational thinking activities provided by our digital education partners. Remember, your students only need to complete four activities and they’ve done Learn to Speak Robot!

Access DT Hub™

Find out more
Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum-approved options with complete lesson plans.

Digital thinking activities across various subject areas such as Health, the Arts, Geography and Science.

Access Hour of Code™ Activities

Find out more
A great place to start as all lessons are step-by-step and there’s something for everyone. Character themed activities include coding with Star Wars®, Minecraft®, Disney characters from Moana® and Frozen®, Angry Birds®, NBA® and more.

Access Grok Learning™ Activities

Find out more
Never tried coding before? Try some basic Blockly coding with the cute Monster Maker.

All activities include access to lesson plans for teachers meeting Australian Digital Technology curriculum requirements.

Access CS Unplugged™ Activities

Find out more
Core fundamentals of programming without devices! You’ll only need items like chalk, paper, pens, pebbles, bits ‘n’ bobs and your digital thinking brain. Great activities to work through with your class.

Access MakeCode™ Activities

Find out more
Always wanted a micro:bit device but don’t have one? Use the free online micro:bit simulator here to make a flashing heart or a game where you can play ‘rock paper scissors’. Plus lots more to try here.

Access Code Club™ Activities

Find out more
Step-by-step projects to complete using free downloads to make your own musical instruments with Scratch, create a webpage to tell a joke with HTML and CSS and send secret messages with Python.

Access Vex Robotics™ Activities

Find out more

Use your VEX robots to help a hungry squirrel gather nuts for winter with VEX 123, build and code a parade float with VEX GO, navigate your BaseBot through a maze with VEX IQ, or code a pizza delivery project with VEX EXP! 

Beginners’ Activities

New to computational thinking? No worries. We’ve selected six activities that are perfect for beginners to complete the Challenge. Remember, your students only need to complete four activities and they’ve done Learn to Speak Robot!

Coding with Minecraft®

Learn the basics of programming in familiar territory

Find out more

Get started with this beginner’s coding with a Minecraft lesson from Code.org’s Hour of Code™.

Watch a 2-minute intro video followed by a step-by-step introduction to coding using a Minecraft character.

Learn about algorithms

Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum approved lesson
Find out more
Have a go at introducing algorithms to beginners by simply describing everyday actions like brushing teeth, or making a sandwich with this activity from the Digital Technologies Hub. The only equipment you’ll need will be sticky notes / paper and your digital thinking brain!

Make cute monsters

Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum approved lesson

Find out more

Sign in as a teacher to get free access to all the notes and support you need to run Grok Learning tutorials as a classroom activity and no software installation is required. All activities also contain extension suggestions for students who blast through.


Code a flashing heart with no special equipment

Find out more

Don’t have a budget for physical robots or microchips? Microsoft have an entire, online based micro:bit simulator you can use for free.  Simply click on the picture of the chip to make it do what it would in real life. 


Unplugged lesson requiring no devices
Find out more
It sounds complicated but fits in beautifully with Mathematics. It’s just counting in Base 2.

Explore this CS Unplugged activity to find out how numbers can become something else:  a necklace made out of beads that secretly spells your name or a code for writing secret messages.

If you have no idea what binary is spend 5 minutes getting up to speed with Math is Fun by Rod Pierce.

Code a dance party

Get creative with music, characters and dance moves
Find out more

Use your creativity to code a choreographed dance performance with this Hour of Code™ activity from Code.org.
Take part with digital devices or try the unplugged version (no devices needed) as a class.


Ally Watson

Ally Watson

CEO & Co-Founder at Code Like A Girl

The future is technology. Women are at risk of losing out on tomorrow’s best job opportunities. The situation presents a unique opportunity for females to step up and take action. The future is very much looking to artificial intelligence, and if it’s only men building that intelligence there’s going to be continued bias in the technology of the future.
Paul Clapton-Caputo

Paul Clapton-Caputo

(Former) Leader at Learning Technologies, Leadership Development, Department for Education ǀ Director at Educators SA ǀ Principal Consultant at EdTechSA

This Challenge opens young minds to thinking technologically. It will grow diversity and inclusion and opportunity for those that will soon lead this work in creating tools and systems yet unimagined. Human, cultural and systems diversity require the chance for every child and young person in South Australia to be part of this thinking and mix.
Professor Katrina Falkner

Professor Katrina Falkner

Lead at Computer Science Education Research (CSER) Group | Lead at Centre for Distributed and Intelligent Technologies - Modelling and Analysis

It is essential for our next generation to not only learn about how digital technology works and how to use it, but also how to create new technologies. Understanding how we create technology solutions empowers people in solving their own problems and those of their communities in ways that truly address their needs.
Dr Rebecca Vivian

Dr Rebecca Vivian

Research Fellow at Computer Science Education Research (CSER) Group

Technology increasingly has an impact on every field today – including finance, fashion, agriculture, business, art, medicine and more! Providing opportunities for children to develop computational thinking and digital skills is fundamental to building their capacity to be problem-solvers and solution-creators in a digital world.  
Professor James Curran

Professor James Curran

Academic Director at Australian Computing Academy | Director at National Computer Science School | CEO at Grok Academy

Digital technologies make thoughts concrete without requiring the physical world. Any problem that can be turned into data, you can manipulate and interact with in such a way that you could change the world – and there’s nothing more amazing than that.
Acknowledgement of Country

We respectfully acknowledge and celebrate the Traditional Owners of the lands throughout South Australia and we pay our respects to their Elders – and to past, present and future generations of their children and young people.

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