We can’t predict what the fastest growing technology will be in five years,
but we can confidently predict that it will include computer science,
engineering design, and mathematics.



Robot Lessons - Year One

The FIRE project develops robotic lessons for informal education that teach computer science, engineering design, and mathematics. The problems are designed in ways that require the student to use mathematics and computer science rather than “guess and check” and remote control.


The lessons available in year one are: Robots in Motion, Robot Programming using the NXT-G Programming Language, and robot programming using ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS and ROBOTC for IFI. The courses will evolve with the project and are designed to use robotics to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts.


Cognitive Tutor Enabled Robot Curriculum

Over the next three years the FIRE project will develop a series of cognitive tutor enabled courses that will significantly improve a student’s ability to learn STEM through robotics. Cognitive tutors are intelligent tutoring systems that promote structured thinking as a student progresses through each lesson. By analyzing the steps a student takes in solving a problem, cognitive tutors can track a student’s progress and provide feedback or additional practice as necessary. Classroom-enhanced versions will also produce student reports for teachers, enabling targeted remediation on top of the innately differentiated learning experience that the tutor's adaptive nature inherently provides.


In year one, the Robots in Motion curriculum (see below) is being redesigned to take full advantage of the cognitive tutor format and technology. Robots in Motion uses intrinsic properties of mobile robot systems to enable students to work hands-on with proportionality, a big idea in mathematics and across all STEM disciplines.

Robotics Explorations Preview
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Below are two examples of lessons that are cognitive tutor enabled lessons.  These lessons, and others like them, will be integrated into the Robots in Motions lesson.


Mesaured turns - Turning Introduction

Run to Run

Measured speed - What is Speed?

Rotations to Distance



Robotics Explorations Lessons


Measurement Unit - "Quality Control"

  • Measuring Distance – Focus: Measuring displacement using consistent reference points
  • Measuring Turning – Focus: Measuring angles using student designed tools
  • Measuring Speed – Focus: Measuring speed using time and distance-measuring tools

Measuring Unit Preview

Click to preview the Measurement Unit

Proportionality Unit 1 - "Asteroid 2012 JN4"

  • Proportional Distance – Focus: Applying proportionality to relate rotations to distances
  • Proportional Turning – Focus: Applying proportionality to relate wheel rotations to turns
  • Proportional Speed – Focus: Applying proportionality to relate motor power to speed

Proportionality Unit Preview

Click to preview the Proportionality Unit

Proportionality Unit 2 - "Robot Dance"

  • Calculating Distances – Focus: Discovering Pi as the key to rotational distance
  • Calculating Turning – Focus: Direct and inverse proportionality, commutativity
  • Calculating Speed – Focus: The proportional relationship between speed and wheel size

Calculation Unit Preview

Click to preview the Calculation Unit

Subsequent courses build on competencies learned in the previous course.