Karel Coding


Intro to Computational Thinking & Computer Programming

Karel Coding

Intro to Computational Thinking & Computer Programming

“Few other skills open the door to as many well-paying careers.”

– Study from Burning Glass Technologies.

Karel is a computer programming language and learning technique originally developed by a Stanford University Professor  to teach Fundamentals of Coding. Designed to significantly speed up educational progress, it is recommended as a prerequisite or a booster to learning most popular programming languages, such as Java, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, C++, and more.

NCLab’s Karel is one of the deepest and most thorough versions of the “Karel the Robot” course. Try it now for free!

30 hours to complete on average.
At 2 hours per day, be done in just 15 days!

200 game-based levels.
25 quizzes and projects.

Average student age: 24
Minimum age: 11
Max recorded age: 63!

12,000+ students tried this course.

Skills You Will Master

  • Computational thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Clean and effective code writing
  • Counting (repeat) loop, nested loops
  • Conditional (if-else) statements
  • Conditional (while) loop
  • Defining and using custom commands
  • Using functions that return a value
  • Using local and global variables
  • Basic operations with Python lists
  • Designing recursive algorithms
  • Solving advanced problems
  • Running and debugging programs

When we learn a new computer programming skill, our brains form new neural connections while strengthening existing ones, according to the National Institute of Health.

Essential for STEM and Industry 4.0 jobs, computer programing has become a core skill which bolsters the prospect of commanding a high salary. Burning Glass researchers found that jobs which require coding skills pay up to $22,000 more per year on average. Nearly half of all jobs that pay more than $58,000 require some coding skills, according to the analysis.

Karel Coding is the perfect course for students of all ages to learn fundamental coding principles. While designed to be fun, the course delivers deep knowledge on essential skills and terminology of programming. In addition to essential programming concepts such as conditions, loops, variables and functions, the course teaches computational thinking (i.e., how to formulate ideas to be understood by a computer), logic, critical thinking and perseverance. Hence the course’s popular title, “The Chess of Programming.”

The Karel Coding course is structured in the form of short games. Each game level presents a new maze that requires problem solving and typing a short program in simplified Python language. The course is light on syntax and provides an absolutely essential foundation for learning any advanced computer programming language.

Extra Course Features

  • Game-based and self-paced learning form the player’s journey, including well-designed puzzles and opportunities to tackle challenges with confidence.
  • Embedded Mathematics.
  • Free App to create projects and games.
  • Aligned with Common Core Math Content and Practice Standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Crosscutting Concepts, Science & Engineering Practice (SEP) and Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) with an emphasis on Engineering Design, and CSTA/CS for All Computer Science Standards.

Get all the course materials you’ll ever need:


The Karel Programming course is divided into five units.

Each unit consists of five sections which include several game levels and creative projects. That’s a total of 200 levels and 25 quizzes and creative projects!

Download Syllabus


A PDF textbook is included with the Karel Programming course. The textbook provides more detailed explanations of concepts as well as additional examples and descriptions of good programming practices.

Educator Resources

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