Intro to Robotics Levels A-D 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.
Important Information for Virtual Classes:
Please note, classroom and student licensing is intended for in-person use. While our program can be used for virtual classes, the purchaser of the curriculum is required to maintain control of the curriculum files and is liable for curriculum distribution outside the licensing agreement. Instructors are not allowed to distribute curriculum files to students in a manner that would allow students to distribute the files to others.
If your class model requires students to have a copy of the curriculum files, each family should purchase a home kit instead. This will allow each family to have their own watermarked copy of the curriculum files. Home kits can be found here.
Orders can be placed here on the website or feel free to contact us for a custom quote or to submit a purchase order. Each web order or institutional purchase order must include the following three line items:
- SKU 450 Levels A - D Base Bundle (Includes Levels A - D curriculum, 5 student licenses, 2 sets of Levels A - D component kits)
- SKU 451 Levels A - D Student License (for >5 students)
- SKU 452 Levels A - D Component Kits (for >2 sets of component kits)
We recommend including the classroom teacher's email address on the PO so we can set up a download account for the teacher at the time the order is created. This will allow the teacher to access the curriculum without delay.
Levels A - D Classroom Curriculum and Student Licenses
- 360 page Level A curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons
- 570 page Level B curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons
- 660 page Level C curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons
- 460 page Level D curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons
The curriculum is available as a downloadable PDF only. We do not offer printed copies.
- In addition to the curriculum, one license should be purchased per student. Please note, five student licenses and two component kits are included in the base kit bundle.
Levels A - D Component Kit
Purchase one component kit for every 1-3 students. Each component kit contains:
- Raspberry Pi x1
- 5 volt Power Supply with AC Adapter x1
- Raspberry Pi Case x1
- Micro SD Card with Adapter x1
- Ribbon Cable x1
- Wedge Assembly x1
- Battery Holder with Wires x1
- Breadboard x1
- LEDs x8
- RGB LED x2
- Resistors 220 Ohm x6
- Resistors 1,000 Ohm x6
- Resistors 10,000 Ohm x6
- Pushbutton Switch x3
- Piezo Speaker x1
- Slide Switch x1
- 3x4 Matrix Keypad x1
- RFID Reader x1
- RFID Tags x2
- Analog-to-Digital Converter x1
- 10k Potentiometer with Knob x1
- Phototransistor x1
- Level Shifting Integrated Circuit x1
- Infrared Obstacle Sensor x3
- Ultrasonic Range Sensor x1
- Infrared Line Sensor x3
- Temperature Sensor x1
- OLED Display x1
- Capacitive Touch Sensor x1
- 220uF Capacitor x2
- 2200uF Capacitor x1
- Audio Amplifier x1
- USB Audio Adapter x1
- Microphone x1
- Camera Mount x1
- Camera Cable x1
- Camera x1
- Speaker x1
- Infrared Receiver x1
- Infrared Remote with Battery x1
- Transistors x4
- Relay Module x1
- Accelerometer x1
- Servo Motor x1
- Dual-Color LED 18mm x1
- Screwdrivers x2
- Jumper Wires (Short Male-to-Male)
- Jumper Wires (Long Male-to-Male)
- Jumper Wires (Long Male-to-Female)
- Upper Chassis Plate with Breadboard Attached x1
- Lower Chassis Plate x1
- Assorted Chassis Hardware x1
- Rear Caster Assembly with Ball Bearing Wheel x1
- Plastic IR Sensor Mounting Hardware x1
- Ultrasonic Range Sensor with Plastic Mounting Plate x1
- Camera and Ultrasonic Sensor Mounting Hardware x1
- Raspberry Pi Chassis Mounting Bracket and Hardware x1
- Motor Drive Integrated Circuit x1
- Small Screwdriver (#2 Phillips) x1
- DC Motor with Wires and Mounting Hardware x2
- Wheel and Tire Assembly x 2
- 6xAA Battery Pack with Velcro Mounting Strips x1
- 9-Volt to 5-Volt Voltage Regulator x1
- Digital Multimeter x1
Please note, all components are ready to use. Any soldering or other critical modifications have been made to each piece of equipment to ensure a student can use the component without issues. Please contact us if replacement components are needed. Part compatibility or required prep work (soldering, etc.) is a potential issue when purchasing components from other sources.
For each component kit purchased, you will also need the following items (not included):
Computer Monitor (a television can also be used provided it has HDMI inputs, please note, a laptop computer will not work for this purpose)
HDMI cable (likely attached to your computer monitor)
- AA Batteries x2
- These are used in Lessons A-1 to A-9 to power circuits prior to learning to use the Raspberry Pi.
- Keyboard and Mouse
- Please use a wired keyboard and mouse if possible. Wireless models do not work reliably with the Raspberry Pi. Visit the Level A Resource List for a list of inexpensive keyboard and mouse options.
- A Desktop Computer, Laptop, or Chromebook
- Must be connected to the home network via a wired or wireless connection (this can be the family’s regular computer as it will be used in networking lessons)
- Anti-Static Mat
- Highly recommended to prevent damage to more sensitive equipment such as the Raspberry Pi camera; click here to find one at a bargain price. This is particularly needed in Level C.
- AA Batteries x6
- These are used to power the robot in Level D. We recommend rechargeable batteries, click here to learn more.
- Electrical Tape
- Used in Level D to build a track on the floor for the robot to follow; use black electrical tape if you have light colored flooring, use white electrical tape if you have dark colored flooring
USB to SD Card Adapter (optional)
- Optional activity in Lesson D-1 shows students how to back up their SD card to their computer, click here to see links to adapters
Internet access (wired or wireless)
- Internet access is optional (but recommended) for Level A. For Levels B and C, internet access is required to download libraries and modules.
Please note, none of the equipment needs to be exclusive to the Raspberry Pi. Students may be able to use monitors, keyboards, and mice currently in the computer lab. Double check for the proper inputs and cables.
For more information, check out this video where Julie walks you through the extra equipment requirements for Levels A and B (please note, this video has not been updated for the Levels C and D items).
Levels A - C Scope and Sequence
- Learn how electricity and electrical equipment work.
- Learn to properly use common electrical components that make up circuits including breadboards, batteries, LEDs, resistors, jumper wires, and switches.
- Build both series and parallel circuits and understand how to use Ohm's Law when designing circuits.
- Practice systematic troubleshooting techniques including half-splitting.
- Learn to read schematic drawings.
- Learn to use a Raspberry Pi (a mini computer) including connecting it to peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc.) as well as downloading files and software updates.
- Learn to use several included software packages including Raspbian OS, Nano, and Thonny.
- Learn to to create basic Python programs including comments, merging strings, user input, mathematical functions, lists, if/else statements, and loops to control electrical circuits and create games.
- Learn to identify and correct errors in Python computer programs.
- Work administratively with files, folders, and directories.
- Continue to expand coding knowledge to include functions, advanced list commands, logical operators, while true loops, advanced string techniques, try/except/finally, and multithreaded operations.
- Understand pulse width modulation.
- Learn to work with new types of switches, a matrix-style keypad, potentiometers, phototransistors, infrared sensors, RFID readers, temperature sensors, an I2C display, and ultrasonic range sensors.
- Learn to use Github and adjust for various versions of Python.
- Work with an analog-to-digital converter integrated circuit.
- Expand project flexibility with networking and remote access.
- Write Bash scripts and using Bash programming
- Use microphones, speakers, audio amplifiers, and audio software.
- Work with servo motors to add movement to projects.
- Multiple methods for gathering data from internet feeds and databases including API data access as well as how to use data in projects.
- Work with accelerometers and gyros to allow for multi-axis measurements in projects.
- Use relays to control high-powered devices.
- Create your own Graphical User Interface (GUI) using the popular module Tkinter to create a user-friendly interface for programs and display data.
- Build a web server using popular server softwares like Bottle and Apache to add web page control to projects.
- Use a camera to gather data and see real-time events.
- Learn to protect and recover operating files and project data
- Use a digital multimeter (included in kit)
- Construct the robot chassis including wheels, motor mounts, and motors
- Control the robot remotely via VNC
- Add and configure various sensors, an audio amplifier, and speaker
- Use a camera to collect information and see the world from the robot's point of view
- Set up the mobile power system including gaining understanding of benefits and drawbacks of various battery power options
- Learn to drive and troubleshoot motors through code including coordinating multiple motors
- Set up keyboard control of robot while accounting for focus, keypress, and repeat rate issues
- Build a webpage and use CGI scripts to control the robot remotely
- Use a web page to view video generated by the robot and trigger the robot to play audio files
- Continue to improve troubleshooting skills for both electrical circuits and computer programs.
- Continue to gain the skills to independently tackle advanced projects found online.
- Gain the skills to systematically plan large projects including identifying needed functionality, part compatibility, and keep appropriate documentation
Levels A & B FAQ
Q. I've never taught electronics, programming, or robotics? How can I use this program?
A. We specifically designed our curriculum kits to be used by teachers 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 class these skills.
Q. What age is this curriculum appropriate for?
A. The program was originally designed for high school students, however Levels A and B can be used successfully with middle school students. We do not generally recommend Levels C and D for middle school students unless students are academically advanced and working with a low student to teacher ratio. While some users have success using the program with upper elementary students, this may require modifying the lessons a bit to only cover the material at a more superficial level and we would only recommend planning to use Level A.
Q. How will I receive my order?
A. The PDF files containing the curriculum can be downloaded following purchase. Printed copies of the curriculum are not available. The component kits will be shipped to you.
If ordering via PO, please include the email address for the classroom teacher so a download account can be set up at the time the order is placed.
Q. How many lessons are in Levels A - D and how long does each lesson take?
A. There are 18 lessons in each level. In a classroom setting we would suggest allowing 150 hours to complete Levels A - D. Earlier lessons may be completed more quickly allowing more classroom time to dig into later lessons when students are practicing both coding and electronics skills together.
Q. What if we have a question or run into a problem?
A. We are here to help! Click here to contact us 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 others using the Intro to Robotics program.
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. Are the component kits reusable for the next group of students I teach?
A. With proper care, the components in Levels A-C are non-consumable. In reality some of the more fragile parts (LEDs, resistors, etc.) may need to be replaced fairly regularly but those particular components are inexpensive to replace. Contact us for information on replacement parts so we can help ensure compatibility and help you find a bulk solution if you are teaching large numbers of students.
For Level D, once the chassis, wheels, and motor mounts are assembled, we recommend not attempting to disassemble those physical pieces as they really aren't meant for regular disassembly. However, the other components can be added and removed from the robot as needed to complete not only the course but also additional projects later. For subsequent years of students, please contact us and we can walk you through which pieces likely won't be reusable for the next group.
Please note, as student progress into Levels C and D, the circuits get quite complex and projects build over several lessons. So unlike Levels A and B, it's not feasible to disassemble projects at the end of each class session so kits can be shared between sections of a course. Please plan on a component kit for each team of students.