Nine week curriculum
Daily Lesson Plan

Note to the Teacher
The Nine Week Robotics Module allows the teacher to teach basic electronic control, programming logic, and give students an opportunity to experience engineering. This module includes more time for math and science based explorations where students are actively engaged in inquiry-based lessons that use robotics to demonstrate measurement, ratios and proportions, conversion of units, applied geometry, and scientific process. The last section of the module involves an open-ended challenge where students get practice problem solving, working in teams, and project management. Teachers will find resources to help with project management in the Project Management section of the Investigations Module.

Beginning in Week 3, students will begin using the investigations in the Investigations module. It will be up to individual instructors to select the investigations most appropriate for their classrooms. There are teacher notes and answer keys available in the Extra Resources folders (Extra Resources / Acrobat Files / Investigation Teacher Notes) that can aid you in making this selection, and in correcting the accompanying worksheets from each investigation.

Resources required:
Resources available on this CD-ROM
  • 5 Robot Building Instruction slideshows, including
         Tankbot, and 4 other robot slideshows.
         Go to ROBOTS in the Hardware Module.
  • Touch Sensor
  • Light Sensor
  • Rotation Sensor
  • Gear Box / Gear Box Attachment / Crate
  • Worm Gears
  • Gripper

    Programming examples for

  • Motors and Timers
  • Touch Sensor
  • Light Sensor
  • Rotation Sensor
  • Temperature Sensor

    Investigations Module Resources

    Project Management
  • Brainstorming
  • Working in Teams
  • Time Management
  • Design Review
  • Engineering

  • Gears and Speed/Time
  • Gears and Speed/Distance
  • Gearbox Hoist/Torque
  • Worm Gears/Properties
  • Belts/Ratios
  • Pulleys/Force, Distance, Work

  • Wheel Sizes/Distance
  • Compound Gears/Ratios
  • Fractional Parts/Containers
  • Probability Wheel/Chance
  • Equivalent Fractions/Predictions
  • Unit Conversions/Factors

    Motion Planning
  • Discovering Pi/Circumference
  • Measured Turns/Radius
  • Building Behaviors/Programming


    ROBOLAB instructional tools
  • ROBOLAB Functions Palette 2.5
  • ROBOLAB Tutorial (slideshow)

    Construction techniques / Mechanics helper links:
  • LEGO® Building Tips (slideshow)
  • Sensors (slideshow)
  • Cross Bracing
  • Spur Gears/Gear Wheels
  • Bevel/Crown Gears (Conical Wheels)
  • Worm Gears
  • Compound Gear Ratios
  • Balance
  • Friction

    Open Ended Design Challenges

    Assessment tools
  • Work habit evaluation form
  • Workplace competencies evaluation form
  • Robot design rubric / Presentation rubric / Daily log


    It is extremely important to have students cover their IR tower and robot whenever multiple users are beaming programs. If a robot receives a signal from multiple IR towers at the same time the firmware becomes corrupt and needs to be downloaded again.

    Click here to learn more.


    Week 1 _____________________________________________________
    Introduction to Basic Programming & Logic

    Overview: The goal of week one is to teach basic programming logic and how to program LEGO robots using ROBOLAB™. In week one students will learn to combine basic behaviors to build simple behaviors.

    Week 1, Day 1
    Introduction to Robotics
    Install ROBOLAB™ and test IR communications with the RCX.

    Build several robots and download programs that demonstrate how sensors work. This demonstration is to be used as an anticipatory set to excite the class about robotics. Suggested robot demonstrations:
    1. Robot demonstrating simple behaviors using timing
    2. Robot demonstrating simple behaviors using a touch sensor
    3. Robot demonstrating simple behaviors using a light sensor


    The light sensor is easier to use than the touch sensor because there are fewer mechanical challenges to get it to work.


    Note: If you have never programmed with ROBOLAB, a ROBOLAB Tutorial beginner's slideshow is available in the Teacher Resources section of this Module. Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Academy has programming lessons at its site (click LEGO in the left sidebar), and has also produced a ROBOLAB Video Trainer with 40 short videos with animations that can be used to teach programming. TUFTS University has a comprehensive online downloadable PDF tutorial at

    Review the parts of the RCX (Hardware Module/The RCX)

    Demonstrate the following using ROBOLAB:

    Assign all students to build a Tankbot
    Week 1, Days 2-3
    Programming Using Behaviors
    Describe how to program using behaviors (Investigations / Motion Planning/ Building Behaviors)

    Pass out the Behaviors worksheet from the Building Behaviors investigation in the Motion Planning section of the Investigations Module and discuss the difference between basic, simple, and complex behaviors.

    Use a programmed robot to demonstrate a basic, a simple, and a complex behavior. There are videos demonstrating these behaviors in the Building Behaviors section of Investigations.

    Review the following using ROBOLAB:

    Note: It is important that you teach your students about file structure; how to name their programs, where to save them, and how to locate them when they return. These concepts, as well as how to multitask between ROBOLAB and the Robotics Educator, are covered in the Quickstart Guide on the front page of this module.

    Present Light Sensor slideshow (Extra Resources / PowerPoint Shows / Light Sensors).
    Demonstrate Light Sensor engineering (Sensors Module/Light Sensor/Engineering).
    Demonstrate how to calculate threshold (Sensor Module/Light Sensor/Programming).

    Discuss how feedback from the sensor is used in forks and loops to control behaviors (conditional statements).

    Discuss how programmers use pseudo code to build the logic they will use to program their robots (Investigations/Motion Planning/Building Behaviors/Pseudo Code Worksheet).

    Assign your students the following programming exercises, and reinforce the idea that these programs combine basic behaviors to build simple behaviors:

    Wait for Dark
    (Exercise 1 - Light Sensor / Programming Module)
    Wait for Light
    (Exercise 2 - Light Sensor / Programming Module)
    Line-Track Right
    (Exercise 3 - Light Sensor / Programming Module)
    Line-Track Left
    (Exercise 3 - Light Sensor / Programming Module)
    Timer Sensor Forks
    (Exercise 4 - Light Sensor / Programming Module)
    Week 1, Day 4
    Have the students complete the light sensor worksheet to demonstrate how to build complex behaviors (Investigations / Motion Planning/ Building Behaviors / Light Sensor Worksheet).

    Develop a simple programming challenge using black electrical tape and a light colored surface.

    Challenge your students to work in pairs to solve the programming challenge.

    Week 1, Day 5
    Complete the Light Sensor challenge from day 4.

    Check students' understanding of the basic programming concepts taught in week one.

    Administer basic teacher-developed programming quiz (optional).

    Week 2, Days 1-3______________________________________________________
    Introduction to Touch Sensors

    In week two, students will continue to learn to use ROBOLAB. They will learn about touch and Rotation Sensors. They will begin to combine simple behaviors to build complex behaviors.

    Demonstrate how a Touch Sensor works (Sensors Module/Touch Sensor/Engineering).
    Demonstrate the difference between Wait-for-Push and Wait-for-Let Go.

    Assign students the following programming exercises:
    Wait for Push
    (Programming Module/Touch Sensors/Wait for Push)
    Wait for Let Go
    (Programming Module/Touch Sensors/Wait for Let Go)
    Bug Bot
    (Programming Module/Touch Sensors/Bug Bot)
    Remote Control
    (Programming Module/Touch Sensor/Remote Control)

    Complete the touch sensor worksheet (Investigations Module, Motion Planning, Building Behaviors, touch sensor worksheet).
    Week 2, Days 4-5
    Introduction to Rotation Sensors/Angle Sensors

    Overview :
    The Rotation Sensor, also called the angle sensor, does not come with the standard kit. The Rotation Sensor is a very powerful tool to teach measurement and applied geometry. As students’ expertise increases the teacher has the opportunity to introduce more advanced concepts: containers, timers, and timer forks.

    Demonstrate Rotation Sensor using Tankbot.
    Present how the Rotation Sensor works (Sensors Module/Rotation Sensor/Engineering).
    Demonstrate how to program a Rotation Sensor (Sensors Module/Rotation Sensor/Programming).
    Present Rotation Sensor slideshow (Extra Resources/PowerPoint/Rotation Sensor).

    Assign Rotation Sensor programming exercises to students.
    Straight (Programming Module/Rotation Sensor/Straight).
    Point Turn (Programming Module/Rotation Sensor/Point Turn).
    Conditional loops (Programming Module/Rotation Sensor/Conditional Loops).

    Challenge the students to use a Rotation Sensor fork instead of a Rotation Sensor loop to track.

    Note: There are multiple extension activities that can be taken from the Challenges section in the Investigations Module.

    Weeks 3-4_____________________________________________________
    Robotics Investigations

    It is up to the teacher to decide the appropriate pace for his/her class. Some students will have completed the programming exercises and others will need more time. In weeks three and four students will be challenged to complete several inquiry-based student-driven investigations. The Robotics Educator has over 30 days worth of student activity involving Investigations. Each investigation will take approximately one to two class periods. The lessons are designed to teach scientific process as students discover academic concepts. Each investigation has:
  • An independent, dependent and control variable
  • A hypothesis
  • Mathematical concepts that are being reinforced

    It will be up to the teacher to select investigations that are appropriate to his/her class.

    The two types of investigations that we will focus on for weeks 4 & 5 are:

    Week 3-4, Day 1-2
    Prepare a demonstration from the Gears and Speed/Distance Investigation.
    Demonstrate how gears affect the distance the robots travel.
    Present Gears PowerPoint Presentation; there is a teacher-editable version in the root directory in Extra Resources.
    Review math related to fractions.
    Demonstrate how to calculate gear ratios.
    Assign students the Speed/Distance Investigation.
    Assign students Investigations based on teacher's selection.
    Week 3-4, Day 3-4
    Review measurement.
    Demonstrate how to calculate the circumference of a wheel.
    Review using a Rotation Sensor.
    Assign the students to complete the Wheel Size/Distance Investigation.
    Demonstrate the Wheel Sizes/Distance Investigation lab.
    Assign the students to complete the Wheel Size/Distance Investigation lab.
    Week 3-4, Day 5-6
    Build the gearbox in Compound Gears/Ratios.
    Demonstrate how to calculate compound gear ratios.
    Assign the students to complete the Compound Gears/Ratios Investigation.
    Week 3-4, Day 7-8
    Demonstrate worm gears (Hardware/Helper Links/Worm Gears).
    Demonstrate Worm Gears/Properties Investigation.
    Assign students the Worm Gears/Properties Investigation.

    Week 3-4, Day 9-10
    Review the Belts/Ratios Investigation.
    Assign students the Belts/Ratios Investigation.

    Week 5 _____________________________________________________
    Overview: In week 5 the teacher will begin to prepare students for their open ended design problem. The key to a successful project involves teaching children about what to expect when they work in teams. It is much more difficult than they imagine. It requires self control. In week 5 the teacher will introduce the challenge. I like the FIRST LEGO League model and use it in my classroom. It is:
  • Theme based
  • Well conceived
  • Complete with rules
    For more information go to:

    The Robotics Academy also has theme based activities. The Camp-on-a-disk model is well thought out and engaging. It is like FIRST LEGO League, but a little less costly. Whatever you choose, you will want the problem to be multifaceted so that teams have to make decisions.

    Refer to the Investigations Module/Project Management section for student resources.
    Week 5, Day 1
    Introduce the teacher-selected challenge the teams will work on. Take the time to discuss all of the rules of the problem, resources available, end date, graded materials, etc.
    Week 5, Day 2
    Review the challenge.
    Discuss Engineering Process (Investigations Module/Project Management/Engineering Process).
    Discuss brainstorming (Investigations Module/Project Management/Engineering Process).
    Discuss how hard it is to work as a team (Investigations Module/Project Management/Teamwork).

    Divide students into teams.
    Note: Students will be assigned to teams of 2-4 to a group. Younger students should be placed in smaller groups. (Extra Resources/PowerPoint/Teams).
    Week 5, Day 3
    Introduce students to PERT Charts and Gantt Charts (Investigations Module, Project Management, Time Management).
    Assign student teams to work together to complete a PERT or Gantt Chart.
    Week 5, Day 4
    Assign the date for the Design Review.
    Review teamwork.
    Review the assigned problem.
    Review team brainstorming strategies.

    Have students begin to develop prototypes of solutions.

    Week 5, Day 5
    Students will work on designing, building, and testing their solution to the project. Students need to assign responsibilities for:
    Weeks 6-8_____________________________________________________
    Students will be focused on solving a design challenge. The teacher’s role becomes a facilitator. The teacher will check each team and sit in on their weekly team meetings if possible. The teams are responsible to keep track of all meeting notes, changes in strategies, responsibilities and time management.
    Week 9_____________________________________________________
    Help students prepare a presentation of the mechanical and programming choices each team made to play the game.

    Have them review these presentations.

    The last day of Week 9 should be reserved for the competition.

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