Teach your student robotics at home, even if you have no background in electronics or programming!
Level A is the first of four levels in the Intro to Robotics series. Intro to Robotics is designed to start at the very beginning and systematically teach students electronics, programming, and then how to combine those skills to build a functional robot.
Along the way they will learn how to use common electrical components, read schematics, troubleshoot, and craft every line of computer code.
We specifically designed our curriculum kits to be used by families with no background in electronics, programming or robotics. With clear explanations, step-by-step instructions, a complete components kit included, and one-on-one support from our amazing team, we are confident you can successfully teach your student robotics at home.
Q. What age is this curriculum appropriate for?
A. We designed our curriculum kits to be used by middle and high school aged students. That being said, it's certainly possible to use the kits with students a bit younger although we'd strongly recommend a younger student learn alongside an older teen or adult. We want everyone to feel successful!
Q. How many lessons are in Level A and how long does each lesson take?
A. There are 18 lessons and each lesson will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete. We recommend aiming to complete 1-3 lessons per week. A single level will take 6-18 weeks to complete depending on lesson frequency.
Q. Can the curriculum be used by the student independently?
A. Yes, the curriculum is written directly to the student and assumes both student (and parent) have no background in electronics, programming, or robotics. How successful a student will be at self-teaching will depend on age, maturity level, and motivation of the student. In the event you have a younger or less mature student, we would encourage you to learn alongside your student.
Q. What if we have a question or run into a problem?
A. We are thrilled to help! Contact us via email or live chat and we will help you get back on the right track.
Also, please head on over to Facebook and join the 42 Electronics User Group
. It's a great place for current or perspective users to ask questions, get project ideas, and connect with other families using the Intro to Robotics program.
Q. What should my student do after completing this course?
A. After a student completes Level A, they will have basic electrical and programming skills they can use to tackle beginner Raspberry Pi projects they find online. Click here to see a sample of appropriate projects. We also recommend students move on to Level B to continue their robotics education:
Q. I’m only interested in my student being introduced to electronics and programming, does he or she need to complete all four levels?
While each level builds on the previous level, we have designed this course so a student can stop upon completion of any level and still have solid, complementary skills in working both with electrical components as well as the most common Python coding commands. While we do recommend students continue to work through successive levels, we recognize that won’t be appropriate for all students, and some families may be content with the skills and exposure gained by completing only one, two, or three levels.
Q. Why does this program teach Python instead of a different programming language?
A. We teach Python for a couple of reasons:
- Python is currently the fastest growing computer language. Companies such as YouTube, Dropbox, Google, Quora, Instagram, Spotify, Reddit, and Yahoo Maps used Python to build their platforms. While programming languages tend to come and go over time, Python is well rooted and is likely to be a popular language for many years.
- Python is particularly well suited to beginners. The code is intuitive and easy to read. It also requires far fewer lines of code to accomplish tasks compared to other popular languages such as C++ and Java.
Q. Which model of the Raspberry Pi does the kit include?
A. Our kits include a Raspberry Pi 3B as it is by far the best model for electronics and robotics projects. We do get questions from users about the newly released Raspberry Pi 4 however it's important to understand that newer isn't always better. Which model will best suit your needs is largely dependent on what you will use the Pi for (robotics projects vs. a personal computer replacement for example) and also your personal skill level. Click here to read more about the differences between the Pi 3B and the Pi 4 including why the Pi 3B is a superior choice for electronics and robotics projects, especially for beginner and intermediate users.
Q. Are the curriculum and kit reusable for other students?
Yes! The contents of the kit and the curriculum are fully reusable for multiple students in the same family. The curriculum may not be resold or given away to another family. If teaching multiple students simultaneously, it may be helpful to purchase multiple component kits so each student has their own set but this is not required. Click here
to purchase an additional component kit. Schools and co-ops, click here
for curriculum licensing information.
Q. How is the curriculum organized?
A. Here is an overview of the sections of the curriculum (click here to view the Table of Contents):
- Working with electrical components to build circuits (Lessons 1-8)
- Setting up the Raspberry Pi (Lessons 9)
- Writing computer programs in Python (Lessons 10-18)
- Controlling circuits you build with computer programs you write (Lessons 16-18)
Q. Can I use this curriculum for high school credit for a home schooled student?
Yes, there are a number of ways to use this curriculum to create a half or full credit high school course. Click here
to view guidelines for using Level A that specifically address academic credit for high school (page 3)
Q. Will we need additional equipment?
A. Yes, besides the curriculum and kit, there are a few things you will need but you likely already have these items on hand:
AA Batteries x2
Computer Monitor (or television provided it has HDMI inputs)
HDMI cable (likely currently attached to your computer monitor)
Keyboard and Mouse (use a wired keyboard and mouse if possible)
Internet access, wired or wireless (optional)
Please note, none of the equipment needs to be exclusive to the Raspberry Pi. The student can easily hook up the family computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, and internet access each time they do a lesson if resources need to be shared. Please note, a laptop will not work in place of a computer monitor.
For more information, check out this video where Julie walks you through the extra equipment requirements.
Q. How will I receive my order?
A. The PDF file containing the curriculum can be downloaded following purchase. The component kit will be mailed to you within several business days.
We do not offer printed copies of the curriculum for several reasons:
- When reviewing concepts, students benefit greatly from being able to search the curriculum document for information about a skill they are working with.
- The technology students will be working with changes regularly and we typically update the curriculum every 2-3 months to assure students are working with the latest information. Sometimes the changes are significant (screen layout, menu options, procedures, etc.) It is advantageous for students to have access to this updated information via the electronic copy of the curriculum. We want them to keep moving forward with their lessons, not getting stuck and frustrated because a menu option changed.
- We want to save some trees and keep your cost down! Our program is lengthy and the book would not only be heavy to carry around, it's simply unnecessary to print it. All lessons can be read and completed with the file pulled up on a tablet, laptop or desktop.
- If you wish to print a full copy of the curriculum, we recommend The Homeschool Printing Company for their quality work and reasonable prices.