Weston Middle School

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Weston, Massachusetts
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Lego EV3 Roboticst-Course Calendar

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Building References

Programming References




Additional Info

  Day Class work/ Concepts Activities Extensions/Alternatives

Course Introduction-What is Lego Robotics?

Solidworks- From Dream to Design

IRobot Video

Classroom Rules- How you are dismissed


Real-world Connections- Big Dog, ATM,etc.

Introduction; partners; learning/sorting the various types of Lego parts

"Messing About" with a limited palette of parts- In 15 minutes, build something of Lego pieces that expresses something about you- interests, origin,etc.

Video: The Growth Mindset

Video: SuperBowl Ad- Amy Purdy- How Great I Am

Introduction to Video Journaling-  begin collecting images and video clips, saving to folder
  • Create frames, surfaces, and pivots using Technic studless building.
  • What are the differences between the different pins?
  • How can you extend an axle?
  • How can you attach an axle to a beam?
  • How can you attach a beam at a right angle?
(1) Build a box with a hinged lid that will contain two balls or similar objects.

Challenge Level: Include a Latch

Playing with parts, students begin learning to build a stable structure that performs a task.  Emphasis on studless Technics building techniques.
Document progress in video
Journaling with Ipads and I-Movie


(1) http://www.legoengineering.com/a-week-in-the-life-1-play-well/

"...Students are given the grey and black pins and told to write down five differences based just on observation. Then they are given beams to put the pins into and asked to use manipulation to come up with some more differences. This leads to a discussion of friction and the possible uses of these pins and ends with a call to use this method of observation and manipulation throughout the class...."

(2) Build a fishing pole at least 24" long of lego pieces with a string at the end that can hook wooden 'fish'

Challenge Level: Include a gear and crank reel to reeel up the line.
  8-9 Introduction to the EV3:
  • Intro to the brick
  • Make a sound
  • Move a motor
  • Move the robit
See also Carnegie-Mellon Intro to EV3
  • Download firmware;
  • name brick;
  • naming and saving programs;
  • Simple EV3  Program:
  • The Move Block

Presentation on EV-3

Creating Animated GIF's

Safety Fan

  12-13 Silly Walks:

You are to create a robot that “walks.” It doesn’t have to literally walk (e.g. two legs, step-by-step), it can’t just “roll on wheels like a car.” Since the project is called “Silly Walks,” also looking for some silly movement!

Monty Python: Ministry of Silly Walks

Detailed Description




Write first NxT-G program- sequence beam, move blocks, display block, sounds, sensors-
EV3: Program Motors B&C to run for 5 seconds


Group Project:

The Wave


Ian Chow-Miller: Doing the Wave- Group Behaviours

Challenge level: http://youtu.be/fvghHG3mAwc

 See also Theo Jansen Strandbeest ( http://youtu.be/rebf6-pQhF0 ).
  10-11 Build a manuverable vehicle
Build a vehicle per directions:

Damien Kee Quick Build
Extension: Design your own original 2-motor robot

Teach Robot to go a set distance, using time or rotations

EV3 Presentation: Moving Straight
( by Barbara Bratzel, in STEM By Design)

-Mark 10 -50 cm  parking spaces on a strip of white paper
- let students figure out how to get car to go 3 spaces
-Randomly tell student what space their car needs to "park" in
-Car has to stop in the correct space
-Redo using light sensor

See also Stop for Pedestrians

Advanced: Sensabot Challenge (C-M)

  14-15 Lego Navigation EV3 Presentation: Turning
  • Configuring the Move block- direction, steering, power, duration, braking/coasting
  • Use Rotation Sensor
  • EV3: Use Gyro Sensor
Maze Challenge:
Additional Challenges:
Navigation challenge using Gyro Sensor


Spirograph Challenge

Light Sensor

EV3 Presentation: Color Sensor

Stop at  Red line

Stop at 3rd line

Go different speeds on different colors
  16-19 Sumo Bot
Students use Sumo-Bot competition to learn multi-step program, use of sensors, parallel sequences, conditionals ( switch ), loops

Assignment Handout

Ball Sweeper Challenge

See Gripper- Damien Kee
(1) Outside the Box- Robot must find its way out of a box

(2) Tabletop Treasure- Robot must stay on the tabletop, find the treasure

(3) EV3: Candy/Snow Push: Robot must recognize colored candy, push it outside the ring to the winner's area

Maja Mataric Challenges
  6-7 Introduction to Gears
Video: Gears
Building Gears

Lego Gears Tutorial
Gears give a mechanical advantage of speed or torque ( turning- force).

GearSketch ( click on ? mark for demo)- Build virtual gear trains. Explore compound gearing.

Gear Challenge: Snail Car
Build the SLOWEST car you can. Car must move constantly at FULL POWER.

Extra Credit: Add a fan on top spinning as FAST as you can.

Challenge: Build the FASTEST dragster you can, using gears. Discover tradeoffs of speed vs torque.
  20 Feedback Loops

Presentation: EV3 Line Follower
Feedback loops enable continual adjustment of performance based on results
Line Follower
Weapon Moves if opponent sensed
Use color sensor to choose navigation path
 Color Line Follower:

Using color sensor and multi-case switch  statements- program your robot to follow a track marked in 3 colors slow, medium, and fast

Blind-fold walk
    Monitoring Multiple Sensors Multiple sensors can be monitored using a series of switches in a loop, 1 for each sensor. This is called polling.
Walk the Dog
Handout: "Walk the Dog"- Use pushbuttons to guide robot
    Complex Behaviors Create complex behaviors by stringing together individual behaviors loops conditioned by time or sensors-i.e., follow a line until an edge sensed, then back up, turn, and go down a ramp until a line crossed, then do sumo-bot, etc.
Go to Line, wait for trash to be placed in receptacle, then turn around, dump it, and return for more( use 3-motor robot)
Video: Path-clearing Robot
    Robot Swarms: Self-Assembling Robots Program robots to find a line, then follow it until they have created a fixed formation Video: Swarmanoid


Robotic Trash Truck Arm
  23-24 Mechanisms   Introduction to basic mechanical mechanisms- lever, pulley, worm gear, crank
  • Label base
  • Attach NxT to base
  • Attach motor to base vertically
  • Attach motor to base horizontally
  • Build ball receiver
  • Build flipper to detect ball, raise ball 2" onto track
  • Build device to detect ball, sweep 90 degrees around corner
  • Build elevator to lift ball 4"
  • Build Tracks
 Music Player- Player Piano
  Sociable Robots
Sociable Robotsp2
Robots- even non-humanoid ones- must interface well with humans.
Can your robot be used by a novice user?
Why is the Apple ios so successful?
Introduction to sociable robots, and exploring the Common Palette and sensors- Move, Display, Sounds, Wait fors, Loops and SwitchesDay 1
Puppet Show

  21 Final Projects: Milestones: Robotic Zoo- Sample

    20 Summary of Concepts  
  Ending• Disassemble projects
• Return base plates
• Wipe out kits with windex
• In kit: 3 motors, Nxt, 5 wires, 1 of each sensor
• Sort plastics
• Inspect kits
• Show Video
• last thoughts
    Advanced Robotics    

Introduction to Advanced Robotics

National Geographic Video- Sensor controlled car

NxT Tutorials

Adv Robotics Video

Solidworks-What Engineers do.....

Presentation on NxT

    Challenge Area 1: Vehicles and Navigation    

Self-Park Vehicle Challenge

When your Lego vehicle finds a parking space between two parked "vehicles", it must autonomously parallel-park itself into the space.

You must demonstrate a working vehicle that will park itself, and hand in a fully documented program.

Related: Adaptive Cruise Control

Program Car to follow a line while staying a fixed distance from next car, using light sensor or distance sensor

Build a self-parking foldable vehicle (Video)

How Self-parking Cars work


Self-Park Vehicle Challenge-Handout


    Introduction to Data Wires and Complete Palette

Navigate the Maze using the Acceleration Sensor

  • Use of Data Wire sound = speed
  • Using Motor as a Rotation Sensor to Control Steering, power
  • Use of Acceleration Sensor
  • Navigate Maze using Acceleration sensor
Tutorial on Data Hubs
    Challenge Area 2: Embedded Robots/Instrumentation    
    Introduction to variables

Ballot Box- Buid a system that will tabulate and display the votes of three different candidates- the Red Party, the Yellow Party, and the Green Party

  • Introduction to Variables
  • Creating a push-button counter
  • Displaying data: Displaying text, number to text
  • Counting stripes,etc.
Tutorial on Variables
    Alternate Project

Vending Machine:

Build a System that will:

  • count the value of "coins" deposited
  • vend a product when sufficient money is put in, and
  • display the change returned
    Finite State Machines

Traffic Signals

Build a model of a traffic intersection, with 2 or 3 traffic signal-gates, walk/don't walk sign, audio messages for the blind

Pushing a "walk" button changes the sequence.

Extra Credit: Heavy Traffic changes intervals

Video: Traffic Signal

Microwave Oven Simulation

    Challenge Area 3: Prosthetics    

Claws and Effectors

Prosthetics-II: Videos and Activities

Robotic Arm

Challenge: Build a Robotic Arm with three degrees of freedom, that can pick something up and move it to a new location.

Robotic Arm Design

Robot Control

Soda-Fetching Robot


assembly line robot

welding robot

DaVinci Surgical Robot

"Little Dog"



Control of Hand

    Challenge Area 4: Student Choice:    


Plan, design, program, and build a robot that performs a useful task that utilizes what you have learned this term. Robot should be non-trivial, and include sensors, motors, effectors, and multi-loop programming.


  • Proposal Form (Week 1)
  • Journal Entry (3)( Weeks 1,2,3)
  • Chassis (Week 2)
  • Algorithm(Week 2)
  • Sensors/Mechanism(Week 3)
  • Program(Week 3)
  • Presentation
  • Report or Brochure

Sketching Tutorials




Arduino Robots

Homebrew Sensors


Advanced Vehicles


Pinball Machine

Build and program a Lego pinball machines


Example 1


    Finite State Machines

Finite State Machines

  • Elevator
  • Combination Lock
  • Vending Machine
  • Turnstile
  • Advanced Traffic Signal

Walking Robots




Robot Swarms

NOVA: Robot Swarms

Art Bot

  • Build a robot that creates art

Drawing Robot Gripper

Portrayer Robot


Sociable Robots

NOVA: Sociable Robots

Tufts Hand Puppet


NxT Musical Instruments

NxT Audio Cane for the blind

NxT Guitar

Building Steps



Gibson Robo-Guitar

Damien Mckee on Nxt Musical Instruments

 Pinball Wizard

   19 Term End: Take Apart    


David Kelley: Design as an Iterative Process


Lego Guy on Playground Slideegion5

Revised Novemebr 2014  by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org